Daniel Loucks loves the outdoors and often blogs about his adventures. He joined the Bike for Bibles (B4B) Centennial Ride in 2006 (which took cyclists from Vancouver, BC to St John’s, NL) but only went as far as Canmore, Alberta. In 2015, Daniel returned to B4B, this time as a roadie and photographer. In this blog series, Daniel gives us a glimpse of what transpires during a week-long ride, through the eyes of a roadie.
August 5, 2015
Wednesday was a short day. But for the 30 or so cyclists it was probably the toughest day of the entire trip because of the cold, rainy weather. It was also a rough day for me. (I’ll expand that story later in this post.)
Our workaholic roadies were up preparing breakfast before dawn. During devotion time, I provided the short message, inspired by our collective experience the previous day going through Nanaimo. I told them about the high-speed car chase that happened in the same location, and the same time that the riders should have been passing me, but instead were scattered around the town. I said that this was a supernatural coincidence. (Read post here). After devotions, I left immediately to get to my flagging station and promptly missed the sign literally out of the church driveway that pointed us in the right direction. Oops.
I quickly realized my mistake and knew where to go, but before I could turn around I passed a few of our cyclists going the same direction. They saw my vehicle pass – with its distinctive rear 3 bicycle carrier – and figured they were going in the right direction. Unfortunately, they did not see me turn around, and I did not think to flag them down and point them in the right direction. I got to my post, radioed Roger and Judith who came out to talk to me, and then retrieved the wayward riders who were by then several kilometers down the road.
Roger has a big truck, so they all piled in, bikes in the back, and started again from my post a little out of Courtenay. These particular cyclists were very gracious to me later when I talked to them, and also proud of the extra miles they had ridden.
Our trusty supply truckers, Andrew and Patience, found a spot to provide a refuelling break at the halfway mark. Most of the cyclists stopped just long enough to grab some food and took off again. The riders then rode up to Rippling Rock, about 10 kms past Campbell River but Andrew and Patience went straight to the big Baptist Church in Campbell River.
Time Trial at Campbell River
I had the opportunity to ‘support’ two of our very ambitious cyclists who wanted to do an extra 30km on the day we went from Courtenay past Campbell River out to Rippling Rock and back to the River. Rick is one of the Island contingent, while Lenny is from the Netherlands and has participated in the BC week-long rides for a few years now. They decided to cycle 15 kms further out from Rippling Rock deep into the central Vancouver Island Ranges. It was a steady, cold rain and about 12 degrees out. The fog was also rolling in with thick blankets.
On the way back from the 15 km marker, we stopped in for a hot coffee at a little cafe in the middle of nowhere and I conducted an interview with Rick and Lenny. The questions are not exactly original, but the guys bailed me out with their answers! Hopefully, these interviews give an idea of how tough the day was for our riders. After that, we headed back into Campbell River, but I missed my turnoff and ended up back on the highway south of town, with nowhere to turn around for a few minutes. This was the second time – in one day – that I missed a turn so I was very glad to finally roll into the church and relax. By then the sun was out and we had a good time that evening.
We always enjoyed our time at the destination church, but this was the end of three very tough days physically for the riders and four emotionally tough days (with a major injury that happened on the first day) for everyone. We regrouped and gratefully looked forward to a smooth back end of the week.
Relaxing in Campbell River
One of the great things about our time in Campbell River was being able to relax. It was a short day for the riders and the roadies, but it was also a very difficult day for them because of the lousy weather on the way up from Courtenay, and the route, which was along a major highway, albeit with a wide paved shoulder.
I made two navigational errors. One which added quite a few kilometers to the day for several riders. The second one caused only a minor headache for myself. So I was pretty glad to get to the church and just chill out.
Jose Bautista had hit a grand slam for the Toronto Blue Jays that day, and it was early on in their incredible run to the post-season, and the sun had come out from the clouds again. With a parking lot view like the photograph above, and the sun out, how could one not be cheered up? Not to mention the wonderful hospitality from the people of the large Baptist Church in town.
Lenny, our Flying Dutchman, offered to take some photographs of the road crew as we met to regroup and encourage each other after a couple of taxing days. Chris did a fabulous job stepping in for Roger when he left to care for our injured cyclist in Victoria. (The cyclist recuperated at the home of Roger and his wife, along with Maris, one of our roadies. Both of them caught up to us later in the week to become roadies.)
About the Author:
Dan lives in Kitchener, ON. As a true outdoor enthusiast, Dan does not miss an opportunity to visit new places and see new things. He shares about his experiences on his blog site, The Lily Dipper.