Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yawn, Just another 600 km Bervet.

Yawn, Just another 600 km Bervet.
Not!  This was not anything but a routine ride. The ride started to fall apart earlier in the week when our club coordinator Sam crashed his bike.  Luckily he was not hurt.   Sam is usually the youngest rider and only in his third year riding Brevets. He is raising 2 young boys and is the only income in his family. His frame was bent and a new bike or frame was not in his budget. Sam is really tall and needed a 64 cm frame. The call went out on Face Book and a used frame was found by one of our members on Thursday. A late night was spent with Jasen Carter and his son, and Sam’s bike was whole again. He would ride Saturday.
             It was a good thing Sam got his bike fixed. One member was sick, another was still not back from a tour, and the weather forecast scared the rest of them off. It was just Sam and me doing the 600 km. It was a beautiful start. The sun was just rising in the east, no wind, no clouds and it was about 18C already. We started southwest to our first control in Carman. I let Sam set the pace. His bike speedo got damaged in his crash so he did not know his speed. I told him to travel at what ever felt comfortable. He was doing about 27 KPH. Sam and I are opposites. He is normally in the back group and I’m out front.
Sunrise behind us.
           If we were going to complete this ride we must stick together. The ride to the first control in Carman was about 80 km on flat highways with no wind.  So far, so good. We left the control at 8:08 am.
First Control - Sam on left
            We went about 20 k west and the climbing started. A few valleys and hills but mostly climbing. We continued another 20 km and then turned south heading to our next control in Manitou. More climbing and we passed a wind farm along the way. Every time I see these 75 wind turbines I am impressed. Our high point is passed and it is only 500 meters above where we started in Winnipeg. Sam is a better climber than me. I am carrying more weight than him, but if I get a run or have rolling hills I can keep up.
The Quest at the high point.
Wind Farm
We arrived at our second control in Manitou at noon.  Just in time for the lunch rush at the Burger Shack. After we refueled we headed west though a town called La Riviere. It is located in a valley so I shot some video on the fun down slope Of course I shut off the camera for the boring grind out of the valley. I am getting faster every time I do this slope, but lower gearing might help.

See the road across the valley that I had to climb. 8%
From here we were treated to brand new asphalt that they were working on last week when I did a pre-ride. The bad news is we now had a bad headwind. When we reached a town called Pilot Mound we headed North to wards Glenboro. Part way there we ran into a Thunder storm and got separated. Sam found an open barn on a farm to take shelter in, and I continued on to the next town. With “DA HOOD” on I stayed dry. I stopped at the local store and had coffee with the local farmers while I waited for Sam to catch up. I learned about making Hay that day.
The storm approaches.

   Supper was at the control in Glenboro at 6:59 at the 247 km mark. Sam was riding slow as the heavy winds had him riding in first gear a lot of the way. The wind seemed to change as we changed direction. Always a head wind.
Passing by a lake.
           After we ate a great meal we headed east to wards Rathwell passing though Holland Manitoba. By now the wind had died down but Sam was tired. We got to the next control in Rathwell at 10:52 pm. We were at the 302 k mark there.
          From Rathwell we headed south towards Manitou again. We would be climbing some of the same hills again and passing by the wind farm once more. This time we were in the dark. Climbing one of the longer slopes in first gear I had the RCMP pull me over. Flashing lights and everything! I pulled over right away of course. He asked for my license and registration. I said I didn’t have any as I was riding a bike. He was wondering why I was going so slow. He thought I might be an electric vehicle. We talked for a bit and he took a couple of pictures. I had to start again from a dead stop up the hill.
           We stopped along the way for an hour nap along the road. I brought my cover out and covered the Quest. I stretched out with my feet in the nose and my blanket over me. It was a very comfortable nap with no bugs thanks to the cover.
            Upon waking up we continued on to the town of  Morden. We arrived at the coffee shop control at 3:45 am. At this point Sam was falling asleep on his bike so  we got a motel room to get 3 hours sleep and a shower. Witha fresh change of shorts and jersey, I felt great. We left into a strong side wind again and headed north and east to our next control. We arrived at the town of Rosenort with only a hour to spare. At this point we had only traveled 464 km. Sam was dead tired now and called it quits. There was no way he would finish on time. That and it was starting to rain again. He called his wife to pick him up.
           I headed east at a good pace and picked up quite a bit of time despite the pouring rain. I had four more controls and about 140 km to go. I made it back to the Winnipeg control at 15:21.
Last Control!
It was one of the worst weather conditions I have encountered on a Brevet. I stayed dry and still felt great when I got home. It just proves that the Velomobile with “DA HOOD” is the best suited bike for these adventures. And despite the weather I still had FUN…


  1. Hi Kevin,

    Respect! Also for Sam........

    Greetings, Adri.

  2. good job!! i'm going drive a 600 km brevet with 2 day's

  3. Respect for you and for Sam anyway , I am going to do my first 600 with Marcel beekmans en two others , we start on friday and i hope i can cope because it is not yet in my head to do it.
    I bring a report next week at www.blauwemango.blogspot.com

  4. Good Luck on your 600 Brevet Marcel and Gerrit. I hope you have better weather than we had. I think you two will have no trouble. Just focus on the next control, not the whole distance. I am going to do my first 1000 km on August 01. It will be a lot more climbing. I will need a plan for that one.

  5. HI Kevin, congratulations on your 600 K brevet. Just incredible what man can do on his/her bike.