Sooke It – Long Weekend Gravel
With the cold winter finally releasing *some* of its grip, plans were hatched for Easter Long. Ranger Clay promised Stuckylife’s annual gravel adventure on Victoria’s twisting Lake Roads. But what better way to start a trip to Victoria then to ride there with the Ultranaut crew and hit Sooke pot holes “along” the way. Our routing took us through Victoria before back out towards Sooke, more westerly, taking advantage of the Galloping Goose rail trail so that Matt, Justin, and Andrew could test their gear before they begin a more epic week-long adventure through Oregon. The weather proved to always be better on Vancouver Island, though our night was filled with rain. It meant for some very quick beers around camp stoves instead of a true fire, but that’s pretty common for backpacking adventures before true camp season opens. Dank lumber and no where to pack gas station logs, we make due with more beers and some solo time in our tents. The next morning brought a change of plans considering the wet. Matt joined me in my return to Victoria so that we could meet the Stucky life ride on Sunday morning. Some backyard camping, and some mild refreshments in downtown Victoria were welcome. We met Ranger Clay at Cafe Fantastico for a route that he described as mixed terrain, and the ominous “road bikes encouraged, not recommended”. My Ti Romax had been a workhorse with my bike packing gear, but with all the camp gear and accessories unloaded it was feeling quite happy for our gravel attack. A few stalwarts kept that promise to shred road bikes, though many bikes, such as mine and Clay’s SSCX edition pink Romax had been geared up for some gravel racing (Paris to Ancaster is coming up next week, and I’m hoping these rides awaken the legs from winter hibernation). Over five hours we only had three flats, one beer cash expertly placed and one completely unrideable section, with the threat that may increase if people keep bringing appropriate bikes. Post ride, some beers and pizza before the journey to the ferry and my own final leg home from Tsawwassen to Ladner before finally catching a bus as time constraints fell on me. Thanks for the rides Ultranaut and Stuckylife; getting pretty amped for adventure season.