The 1%

The Vitals

Date: October 17, 2020

Location: Lower Mainland, BC

Distance: 200.8 km, 880 m elevation

Partner: Brittany

The Trip

One Saturday last October we left home around 10 a.m. to ride down to Point Roberts and make a small tour of that orphaned piece of Washington state. We added a little loop around Richmond on our way to the Alex Fraser bridge and by the time we were back in Canada we’d done 100 km. On a whim we added a little extra distance in Queensborough and came home having completed my second, and Brittany’s third, century ride (100 miles).

100 miles is a good arbitrary distance that is challenging but eminently achievable. Our first centuries had been on the 6th day of a fully loaded, windy tour in the Yukon and our road-weary legs pushed us through in 10 hours or so.

A double metric (200 km) is the next general goal for people interested in long-distance cycling. It may look like that is what we set out for on this ride but my motivation was subtly different.

The equatorial circumference of the Earth is 40,075 km so my goal for another long October ride with a nice forecast was 200.375 km. Between the two of us, we rode more than 1% of the distance around the world in one day. For me that puts into perspective that the planet is huge but a conceivable kind of huge.

We originally planned to ride it on Thanksgiving weekend which is always very near our anniversary but this year was a cold and blustery one so we delayed a week giving Brittany time to significantly cool towards the idea.

We left 10 minutes later than planned just after 7:00 a.m. and Brittany’s mood started picking up a couple of hours later when we finally started to warm up and the wind died down for good. We took very few breaks and neither of us changed any clothing layers throughout the day. We had on just enough to stay functional but sweat was not a problem.

To ensure success, we rode the flattest roads the lower mainland can muster though 30 or so kilometers were on good gravel trails in Richmond, Mud Bay, and Burnaby. Not too many notable sights along the way and few incidents. We helped a man near Mud Bay who had snapped a chain link (I happened to have a few spares) and Brittany slipped on the train tracks in New Westminster and got a hole in her jacket and a scraped elbow.

At the McDonald’s in Coquitlam we chose a flatter and shorter route home rather than riding to Port Moody and around Burnaby Mountain. In order to reach our distance goal, we rode an extra lap around Burnaby lake and then some additional wiggles in our neighbourhood before rolling up to our back gate at 6:30 in the gathering darkness.

I felt tired but not worn out so I can see how people ride some of the longer distances like 250 km, but 400 km in a day is not on my radar. We ordered pizza for delivery and watched as another rain shower started up. Home just in the nick of time.

Taking pictures was not a priority but I took a memento at the milestone distances as the day progressed.