I arranged a Sunday morning group ride for a first 2019 ascent of Cypress.
I started early for a solo lap of Stanley Park to get some extra hours in the saddle and some harder stints.
It was a beautiful morning and a lovely lap. I had the roads to myself which was awesome as it was the day of the Sun Run, 10k, 50,000 people – largest run in North America (apparently).
After my solo loop I joined up with the rest of the group at 8am. Elton, one of my trainees (doing Whistler 70.3), Daniel, guy I run with (doing Whistler 70.3), Amanda, girl I met in the pool (doing Victoria 70.3), Allanah, pro cyclist (she denies it).
We started with a half loop around Stanley Park and then over to Cypress. We couldn’t agree on the route we should take but as I organised the ride I got the final say. For the most part we took it pretty easy and cruised along in a group. Once we hit the flatter parts of the highway the difference in paces began to show but we did our best to stay in a group.
The route to the bottom of Cypress is tough but we got there in pretty good shape. As we approached it started to rain slightly which was a slight cause for concern as it had snowed heavily at the summit the day before. The forecast I had seen was good so we continued. (I had checked the forecast for Vancouver not Cypress, idiot!)
As we started the climb the group split according to speed and I rode with everyone apart from Allanah who got too far ahead and I couldn’t chase her down. We stopped at the first lookout as it was raining pretty hard. We all agreed that going down and searching for some sun to ride in was an excellent idea.
On the descent I got a bit confused and started on the wrong side of the road but realised pretty quickly when cars started coming at me!! I pushed hard as it’s good to test my bike handling skills by descending in the wet. When we regrouped it was clear that people were not prepared for the weather. I was the only one wearing boots, some didn’t have gloves or were wearing shorts. Given everyone was wet and cold we retreated homewards.
By the time we got back to Vancouver it was sunny and the roads were dry so I decided to do another lap of Stanley Park. Amanda and Elton joined me. About half way round it started to rain slightly. This turned in to heavy rain. This turned in to heavy hail. We should have just gone home.
By the time we had separated from Elton and got most the way back through the city we cycling through an inch of settled hail. I had never seen anything like and it make cycling a pretty sketchy experience.
I crossed Cambie Bridge with all the Sun Run runners going the other way. It was quite impressive seeing that many people. What was less impressive was the river of water, hail and ice flowing down the road on the bridge. Every time a car went past the cycle lane and me were covered in the freezing mixture!! Not impressed.
As soon as I had crossed the bridge the roads were dry again which was very confusing. I got home absolutely frozen and had a long shower to warm up.
A great day in the saddle and a great group of people to ride with. The lesson learnt is to pay more attention to the weather. We could have had a nice sunny ride in Southern or Eastern Vancouver but I was determined to climb Cypress even it it meant getting very wet and cold!! That will have to wait for another day.