a supported mass participation cycling event, catering to all ages and fitness levels by offering three distances: 140km for the enthusiast, 90km for the entry-level rider and an up to 1.5 hour Community Ride for beginners, families, and for those who want to experience cycling for the first time.
Anyone is welcome, on any bike as long as it’s in good mechanical order. Two of my friends did the 90 km route on their fixies (and survived!), another did it on his mountain bike (barely survived), and I was passed by someone early on who was on a folding bike (I dropped him on the first hill but word on the street is that he survived too)!
I did the 90 km route as well and the ride was excellent! We started off in front of the BC Legislative Buildings and went on a route around downtown Victoria, Patricia Bay, Sidney, Saanich, and Oak Bay. The weather in Victoria was a bit cool, and the closer we got to Sidney, the more it started to rain which then became a torrential downpour. Yay for wool socks! I found out later on that 2 riders became a hypothermic from the rain and didn’t finish. I also heard of a few others who packed it in just after the rain started, which was too bad since the rain stopped again once we were out of Sidney. Ironically, Sidney had the most people out cheering us on and they had the worst weather! We saw lots of people with signs cheering on their friends, holding their umbrellas and mugs of coffee (I tried to bribe someone to give me their coffee, but no luck…).
I was in Sidney when I was passed by Ryder Hesjedal (the 140 km riders left an hour before we did and their loop took them out towards Metchosin before meeting back up with us). That’s when I realized just how fast the pros ride. All I felt as he went by was a whoosh of air and he was gone, making it look so effortless… (And this was just a casual ride for him.) I didn’t click in right away who it was until I was passed by a few others who were wearing the full kit from their sponsors and riding bikes that were worth more than my car… The group I was riding with on the 90 km circuit was pretty laid back, most were on commuters with a few jerseys here and there.
Shortly after passing through Sidney, the skies cleared and the closer we got to Victoria, the sunnier it got. We followed country roads for most of the way until we reached Saanich and joined into the roads that went around the University of Victoria. From here we went into Beacon Hill Park and down to Oak Bay, which was one of the more scenic areas of the route. (Patricia Bay towards Sidney was stunning too, even with the torrential rains.) This was also where the time trial was, but as luck would have it, I put my sensor in the wrong spot and it wasn’t picked up. This really broke my heart… (Not really, I had my worst time here!)
We were greeted at the finish line with a large tin of Kicking Horse Coffee and a Macrobar. We were also given a free lunch, which was waiting for us just a few feet away. I needed to warm up first and luckily my hotel was just a few blocks away. After cleaning up I went back and watched my friends on their fixies cross the finish line. All in all it was an awesome day!
I had set my GoPro on my handlebars to capture photos every 5 seconds along the way, minus a couple of sections where it was raining too hard and just too bumpy to get decent shots. After seeing the photos I realized they would make a great time lapse video!
Tour de Victoria 2011 90km Route from Teresa on Vimeo.
Below is the route taken with my GPS if you wanted to get a better idea of where we rode.
So who wants to do it with me next year??