Trev, we have failed you. You left the STC Penticton Camp in the hands of some of your most trusted club veterans and it has deteriorated into something akin to "Lord of the Flies".
Don't get me wrong, we are all motivated and want to do right by you, but the combination of many hard rides at the beginning of the week, minimal leadership (currently, well due to Harley being sick & Ryan taking the day off) and too many really good vineyards have lead to what was once a "throw down" hard ride, "hang on your finger nails" tough guy week has turned into the movie Sideways on a bike.
Don't get me wrong it is really, really good and one hell of a lot of fun, just different.
To give you an example of how far and how quickly things have fallen apart, the long ride plan for today was Apex (a crazy hard climb) followed by the Ironman loop in revervse (Ed. -- in the interest of full disclaimer, I am not a fan of the Ironman loop: proper direction, in reverse, half way forwards half way reverse it doesn't matter -- in my humble opinion there is no redeeming value in this route, but that's just me. On a side note Trev found a sweet 50K side road packed dirt (not gravel) that eliminates the need to do much of the Ironman loop next year, saaawheat, but I digress).
The orignal plan was that route I mentioned above. Over many beers at Salty's last night a complete mutiny was hatched and it seems I was inadvertently an instigator. Instead of that henious, but stupendous, route starting as 7am, I was somehow able to convince otherwise movitated athletes to start at 9am ride up Green Mountain Road, then up Apex back to Penticton, straight to Hillside Vineyard (see previous post, it will make sense). Now this was just my personal plan for the day, it seemed like a good idea, I didn't mean to reduce the long ride numbers down to 2 (Mike Healey and Tomo, we are all so proud of you, but about when you were in the hell of the rollers we were are the Bench having coffee).
So off we went from Denny's around 9:30ish with a large mostly happy, some nervous contingent. Not even the appearance of Royalty in the form of Jared and Tanya (they met us at the gas station Darcy has been banned from, another story for another day) could salvage a day that will not be remembered as one of our finest (maybe one of the more fun days, but not an epic in terms of riding Trev stop reading right now.... our average time start to finish 11.2 kph, elevation gain 1886 metres, distance 96.3). The ride to the Ranch was uneventful, some of the group decided to only do the Ranch then regroup at The Bench.
Any of you who have done Apex, in good weather, bad weather, good form, bad form and well anyone other than Don King (if you have to ask you aren't ready to know), will agree with me that is one MOFO hard ride, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier ain't any harder. The only thing harder than Apex is Apex with a brutal head wind... no kidding it! It didn't rain or snow, but damn I lost my will to live about 10 times. Looking up the road I could see my buddy Darcy (who btw did Apex yesterday as well and Giants Head 3 times the day before and could barely walk downstairs for breakfast) weaving all over the road, it was said, depressing, he was struggling so hard the only thing sadder was I wasn't catching up to him.
We finally scratched and clawed our way up. Jared and Tanya were the fastest up, Jarred was riding 39 x 23 smiling and chatting all the way. Brad W (he of fresh legs) dragged Derek all the way only to be outsprinted in the last 50 metres after give or take 50 minutes of a HUGE draft (and he thinks a coffee makes up for that, oh Derek flatted something like 4 times today. I guess Karma is a bitch).
We all made our way down to the Ranch, totally frozen and headed up to the Bench to join those that rode the new and improved really short ride.
At this point things were still pretty much under control... Then we went Hillside... Let me start with this, anyone who knows, me, Simon and Shelley might think that each of us ordering a glass of wine with lunch was asking for trouble, we ordered 2 bottles... Then my buddy Brad showed up... by last count, when they closed the place and we had knocked down about 8 bottles, we decided on a new really short ride for tomorrow.
If one ever needed an indication of just how far off track things have gotten, Darcy, yes Darcy set the plan, tomorrow we ride toward Chute Lake, ride some of the gravel then on the way back, one glass of wine at every vineyard we come to... we will see how it goes...
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
My Name is Michael, I really like to ride my bike, I also really like vineyards in the Okanagan, I don't ever want this week to end, I need someone to get me back on track... I have said it before, I will say it again, DO PENTICTON next year, best time, best rides, many new friends, you have no idea what you are missing (when it was snowing in Calgary, it was plus 27 here)
It looked so civilized at the start
As Ron Burgundy once said "That got out of hand really quickly"