Badge of a Century: Pacific Populaire

An Italian start:
(l Tor): John, me and Patrick sporting the new 
FRFuggitivi custom caps by Red Dots Cycling
courtesy Guy 

Sunday's Pacific Populaire 100km ride was the first long ride for our FRFuggitivi team. A resounding success - all teammates finished, yours truly included. I must admit, before the start, I was sure my lack of fitness would make for a hell of a difficult day. I planned to do it in 5 hours. My longest ride, this early season, is only 50km. Hardly in support to ride a century.

Lining up
photo Cycling Art

Nevertheless, it was a fine day for the ride; no rain, dry streets and many enthusiastic riders chomping at the bit. There was also bling on two-wheels. At the start Guy motioned to me of a stunning all white Ciclo Marinoni. With so much eye candy present,  I should also mention the event was well organized; sign-in at 8AM, meet the team then ride off at 9AM. Check. Everything went off as planned. John, correctly predicted the huge peloton would separate on the NW Marine Drive hill by UBC. John knows this race well, he's ridden it a few times. The good thing is that riders of same fitness stick together. Camaraderie? In a way, yes. A morale boost to suffer together.

Dry roads ahead.
photo Cycling Art

The abrupt turnaround, for me that is, was the quick lunch spot midway. Stamp the control card, stop for a pee, grab cookies, an orange slice, nasty tasting Gatorade and quickly back on course. Along the route I met up with old riding friends: Ray and Marinoni Barry.

You're only strong as your team...

I want to thank Guy and John for giving me a tow along River Rd keeping me in contention and sane. But, the hard part was coming. The last 10km on the gradually ascent on King Edward Avenue made my on again/off again leg cramps come alive. A Sting in the tail. With the much needed morale support from John and Matt, I kept chipping away at the kilometers and I surprised myself  - finishing my first century of the season in record time of 4 hrs 14 minutes.

Thanks to the BC Randonneurs Cycling Club for putting the fun Pacific Populaire ride together and to my awesome Frfuggitivi teammates for keeping me together!

Badge of a Century
photo Cycling Art