Cannonball: when it started to sink in

2010 September 9
by Oz

It’s occurred to me that, given the number of pictures I’ve been taking, there is actually no point in trying to update and show pictures on the road.  I also have no editing software on this computer (a tiny HP Mini whose soul has been replaced with… something decidedly non-Windows), so truly, there’s no point in pretending.  There will be massive photo updates later, for now you must accept prose.

Last night we met with a scooter club in Vancouver for food and drinks at a location whose name theoretically contained the letter “Z”, on Commercial.  Something like 923 Commercial.  What do I know.  It was an enjoyable time, and a reminder that the world is much smaller than you remember it being; we ran into a former SFSG (Heidi), and chatted for a while.  I also learned that Rocket would sadly not be joining us on this year’s ride, though he was more than willing to come over to our hotel and imbibe some Canadian-brewed goodness.

Speaking of Canadia and brew: I take for granted the selection available to me in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Never before have I seen such a quizzical expression when I mentioned “Bass” or “Newcastle”.  Fail.

Nonetheless, Aaron and I have continued to receive continuous shock and disbelief, followed by near instantaneous ridicule, about this particular adventure.  Yes, we have in fact seen dumb and dumber.  Yes, we might not actually be able to outrun a bear were one to find us on the route.  Yes, I understand it goes slowly up hill, and am acutely aware of just how slowly it will pootle about.

We also learned that Lawson and Cory, two of the contenders in our “class” (this is to say, we don’t belong in this class) are actually having a documentary filmed about them doing this trip.  Their film crew seems amused by us.

Anyway, last night ended universally poorly.  We were up late; nearly midnight, and woke up early, at about 5 AM.  We didn’t actually get 5 hours, either of us, so the morning was rough.  There was ambling, lethargy.

The starting point was a wash; reading a GPS in a foreign, unfamiliar land lends itself to errors, and we didn’t find the correct location at first.  Once we did, it was smooth sailing, if not early; we left probably an hour before any other competitor.

It was at least 2-3 before anyone actually passed us.

They passed us exactly where you’d think – we were passed on the mountains.  We made a truly unremarkable discovery: Aaron’s bike is actually a fair amount faster than mine on the flats, but on the hills, its’ almost half as slow.  Aaron’s C3 would pull 15mph where the Ruckus would pull 25 or more.  It’s a striking difference, one that makes the next few days seem truly horrific; they are ostensibly hilly terrain with large altitude changes, including an ascent to nearly 5000 feet.

Nevertheless, the crowd was shocked when we rolled in at approximately 6:40pm.  We beat the sunset, we also beat everyone’s expectations of our pacing.  We made it in under 12 hours, which was longer than I’d have hoped but shorter than I expected.

Dave is having problems.  He trashed a swing arm bearing.  No good.

Starr has seized her top end, not sure where that netted out, but Karen S. is with her still, on the road, persevering.  Or at least we hope.  It’s been a while since we’ve heard news.

One down, 9 more to go.  In my idle moments of thought, I’ve been haunted by these signs that seem to litter the hillside of British Columbia: “SLOW”.  The signs taunt us with what we know; a truism that follows each ascent, or mocks us with every 100 KPH sign we see.  Feels like the longest 24 hours I can recall, and time really does seem to creep to a halt at 14 MPH climbing a hill.

This is what we signed up for, though.

(Oh, and Starr & Karen S. just came in under their own power at about 11:06pm.  Awesome)

3 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 September 10
    Roy permalink

    Too bad I am out of town (Vancouver) this week and missed you guys leaving for the Cannonball. Would have liked to catch up with you and find out more about why you needed the extra challenge this time around.
    One thing is for sure, you and Aaron will have your own and very special Cannonball experience! I can relate to your hill climb experience. My P200 seemed to take the hills painfully slow in 2008…but I truly enjoyed the steep downhills and winding roads when I could finally beat Rocket…LOL (he hates windy roads…go figure).
    Good luck to both of you!!!


  2. 2010 September 10
    Rockhopper permalink

    You forgot “damn, my ass hurts.” :O

  3. 2010 September 11
    Linda permalink


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