2014 Pacific Populaire ride report and quarter pole assessment

finishers pin
I don’t have nearly as much to say about the 2014 Pacific Populaire, as I did in 2011. I’ve done a lot more, and significantly longer, rides in the three intervening years. I’ve managed a few 60-80k road rides this year and been fairly consistent on the trainer over the winter. As well, my bike fitness is a fair bit better than three years ago, too. I will say that the weather was pretty much the same as in 2011.

I also rode most of the 2011 version with a couple friends, whereas while I tried to find some New West folks I’ve ridden a little with today, I ended up doing this one solo. I didn’t really approach it as any kind of race, but I did want to ride with a bit of an edge, since I’ve got the 270k Victoria Granfondo in 2.5 months, so I wanted an early season gauge. I guess it’s decent that I knocked about 20 minutes off my riding time from three years ago.

My final bit of preamble is that I completely forgot to take any pics today, whereas in 2011, you can see I at least managed to snap the start line and the landing control point in south Richmond.

The Deets

I decided I wanted closer to 120k for the day, so I warmed up riding from home. Leaving at about 8:05am, I got to Riley Park around 8:25 and picked up my card quickly. I ran into a couple people who’d done Ride2Survive and saw a few Velo Vets jerseys, too. I’ll be riding again with the Vets this season, after riding a good chunk of 2012 with them. Unfortunately I really didn’t know the ones I did see, so I skipped the salutations.

Garmin tells me the ride got off pretty much on time, at 9:02am. I won’t go into much detail about the route as I really didn’t encounter anything particularly challenging on the ride. It was the usual slow zigzag through the west side of Vancouver and up UBC hill, opening up as we headed down Marine Drive toward Richmond. I rode from Marine, over Arthur Laing and pretty much all the way to the landing (just shy of halfway) with two somewhat shifting groups of riders.

Three years ago, there was a pretty long line at the control point by the time I got there, but today it appeared I was ahead of most riders, as it was still reasonably quiet and most of the 50k riders had come and gone. I decided to keep the stop short. A quick stamp on my card, a Clif Bar scarfed, a quick bio break and I was off again. The second half was much quieter. I did the Westminster Highway stretch with a couple guys who appeared to train with Leading Edge, with the return ride along the river from Queensborough largely ridden on my own. I played leapfrog with a few riders until we got over the Canada Line bridge back into Vancouver.

If the first 15k of the ride getting up and over UBC hill is slow, things get even slower coming back. Occasionally you can hammer coming back up Marine until you turn east on 16th Avenue, but both between the river and Marine, and after 16th as you zigzag back to Riley Park, you hit lots of little hills and turns. I don’t mind the climbing on slightly tired legs, but I’d definitely prefer less turning and traffic controls.

By the numbers, Garmin says I did 101.3km in 3:22, averaging just a hair over 30km/hr for the ride.

The 2014 Quarter Pole

I used to try and document my training, but the last few seasons have been so problematic, that I stopped. I’m not going to start again because I find writing up anything about my training to be kind of dull. If I find my own training dull to write about, I’m guessing reading about it is a downright yawnfest for someone else. While I will be doing a few fondo-type cycling events this year, and a few more road and/or trail races of TBD length, mostly I’m training to be fit, get a little speed back and feel strong. Racing is a gauge for me, but not my focus at all.

I will say that I’ve been spending much more time on a specific regimen of core, hip and strength exercises, with much better pre and post run stretch and exercise routines. I feel really good right now. I’ve done the Chilly Chase 15k road race (9th OA/4th AG), the Dirty Duo 15k trail race (3rd OA/AG), the St. Patrick’s Day 5k road race (5th AG) and today’s Populaire. Not being a race, it’s kind of irrelevant where I placed in today’s ride and they won’t have results posted until Tuesday.

quarter pole data

January and February kind of held steady, with pretty moderate mileage. I saw a pretty good jump in March, though, and with about 205km in the first six days of April, plus riding to build my base for the big Victoria ride in June, I expect this month to be much closer to 1000km of running and cycling.