Posts Tagged ‘training’

To my riding buddies, thanks for getting me here

Travis riding in a triathlon

Travis Paterson (left) rides the bike course of a triathlon, part of his build up to riding 140km in the Tour de Victoria. Photo Joel Rushworth


To my riding buddies, thanks for getting me here

For those unaware, I’m doing the 140km Harbour Air Seaplanes course. It’s my first time exceeding 100km. I mostly train alone but I am grateful for a few rides with others this year, and of course, each had its own story.  

Thanks Robbie for putting up with my bad jokes when I should have been dropping my shoulders and leading you through the Cordova Bay section after you pulled me the first 45km of Victoria and Saanich.
Thanks for taking pictures of me on Bear Mountain… wait, thanks for dragging me up Bear Mountain… next year we’ll figure out that gas cap on your boat.

See you at the finish.

Thanks Joe for introducing me to the Tour de Victoria in 2015 and inspiring me with your massive progress this year. (Joe is kickass. He blew a tire training for the 60km riding in View Royal on Sunday, took the bus to MEC, got a new tube/tire, and finished his ride.)

See you at the finish Joey.

And thanks to the Johns.

Triathlon John, I’ve known you for a decade. We did that cold October ride that I wore all neoprene and was still colder than you, and you had no neoprene. And John, we all know having that third kid of yours was a blessing. I gotta tell you, it was a blessing for me that she killed your training schedule and brought you back to Earth so I could keep up with you. (John’s a former marathoner who now has three kids and now trains with me, lol. He finally came back to Earth.)

Goalie John. I love your self-deprecating approach. But shut up. You’re in your 20s and you don’t have kids so, seriously, zip it. Thanks for letting me drag you up to Munn last week. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep up. Ironically, I plan to pip you on Munn this weekend. (Goalie John takes our beer league hockey team deep into the playoffs every year but on a bike, I just can’t stay on his wheel. So he just waits for me. What a great guy.)

See you at the finish line Johnny.

It’s funny how things change once you find a new toy.

All my eight year old son cares about is Minecraft. To him kids who don’t like Minecraft, well, they’re just kids and to me people who don’t like pro cycling, well, they’re just people. (I jest, but if the world was perfect, I would only care about pro cycling.)

This is a big journey for me. I bought a bike trainer, and I actually use it. A lot.

I started with triathlon, but it’s not swimming, it’s not running, that gets me pumped.

It’s watching (online) the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta A Espana.

It’s riding, and it’s knowing that I’m riding the Tour de Victoria.

I’ll be there throwing out high-fives on Saturday. Hit me.

  • Travis Paterson is grateful for everything



-Travis Paterson is a community reporter for the Saanich News and local Black Press papers. At night and on the weekend, he is a spandex-loving poser on a bike.

The Tour de Victoria is here, no turning back now

Deadlines approach, no turning back now.

The last month has been interesting, not a recipe for event training but it is what it was.

One month to go:

After some extended rest periods, courtesy of Hannah, my physiotherapist, and some common sense, I got the green light to get back on my bike for some easy, “relaxed” rides.  Along with my weekly physio session and daily stretching and exercise routines, I got in a couple of easy rides around North Vancouver and one Silver Wheels ride from Peace Portal around Birch Bay in Washington State.  These were a bit longer than suggested but by the end of July my knee was feeling a bit better (not nearly up to snuff but …) with less stiffening and post-ride pain.

Mt. Baker

My original plan had included three rides per week with a couple of serious TaG endurance rides including West Vancouver to Squamish and from Sumas to the top of Mount Baker ski area which was also my test ride last year to check fitness and endurance in advance of the TdV.

But I had to cancel both events this year and so my training program was essentially going from 4 weeks off the bike, to a couple of 40-50 km rides to possibly a couple of 100 km rides – I don’t think that would be Ryder’s suggested training build-up but I think (hope) it will work for me – but then I’m not looking to set any records or tear up the TDV course, just survive and finish in a respectable time

However, my physio (she’s the boss) generously allowed me to try a week of 3-50 km rides (easy).  To quote “you can probably do the 140 but might blow up your knee and put yourself back where we started a couple of months ago”.  So, for the long weekend I ended up riding with Kim to UBC, followed up the next day with a Silver Wheels 60km ride from West Vancouver to Ioco via the Barnet Highway with some extended climbing, but not anywhere near my planned program distance.

TaG Team

A large group from TaG has been training for hilly riding every week in preparation for the TDV.

Two Weeks to go:

After the long weekend, my ride plan was to be a bit more consistent with a couple of relatively easy rides with the Silver Wheels and one more strenuous ride with TaG.  I had planned to participate in the Glotman Simpson Cypress Challenge, a cancer fundraiser involving climbing to the top of Cypress Mountain ski area., but Hannah nixed that idea pretty fast when I described it.

Sandy and his new bikeAnd some good news – since I have obviously not reached N+1 yet (cycling joke), a new bike!!!  A Cervelo S5 with disc brakes and electric shifting – more competent bike than rider (for now).

One week to go:

My plan pretty well went out the window – more knee pain after riding on the long weekend so I’m heading to Victoria with much fewer kms in the bank than hoped for.  Most of the Silver Wheels team will be arriving a couple of days before the TDV and as captain, I plan to lead them on an easy “leg loosener” ride on the Friday before the event.  Probably 20 kms around Victoria.  We have done this every year and I have found it is good to keep turning the legs over the day before a long event rather than resting up.  Keeps reminding the body that there is work to be done.

I know I have the option to change my ride from the Harbour Air 140 km event to the TREK 100 km  event or the Christie Phoenix 60 km event when I register, but since my knee has responded slowly to exercise and treatment, I plan to make the distance decision at the last minute (Hannah says 60 max!).  Unfortunately, after a short, steep test ride around North Vancouver yesterday with Kim, including some climbs in the 15% range, my knee objected, so it might even be 0 kms for me this year – very disappointing but we’ll make the decision Friday.

Good luck to everyone riding in the Ryder Hesjedal Tour de Victoria this year – no matter the distance or pace or whatever your personal goals are.  Keep safe and have fun – see you at the beer garden!



While Sandy’s been sidelined rehabbing his knee I’ve spent the last three weeks limiting myself to cycling with the more social Silver Wheelers.  After starting our season last spring in fairly wet conditions it was nice to finally have mostly dry days but lately the heat has just gotten too much for me. On today’s ride we travelled just under 60 kms in the smoke-filled air from all the wild fires happening around us.  Mind you I started off the morning quite tired after tackling some of North Vancouver’s hills yesterday, approximately 500 meters vertical, and found my throat and eyes were quite irritated from the poor air quality.

At this time, I’d like to thank the Tour de Victoria organizers for developing the Ride Training Programs. Although I haven’t followed it completely it was nice to see I had already incorporated most of their suggestions into my own plan. Both Sandy and I have been attending Pilates classes for a number of years and have found the core work to be very beneficial for our cycling.

Peace Arch

I’d also like to thank the TaG Ride Club for offering their Sunday Club training rides and the cycling related seminars. Hopefully I’ll be well fuelled and hydrated on August 18th and if I get a flat during the event I might even be able to fix it on my own! Tonight, Leslie Thomlison hosted a Race/Ride/Event Strategy Seminar to help prep us for TdV. Although I’ve been diligently training and listening to the advice of more experienced riders I still have ‘butterflies in my tummy’ even though this will be my fifth year riding the TdV.  Maybe it’s just excitement. See you on Saturday….


Sandy and Kim Fleming will be blogging for the Tour de Victoria as they train for this August. Amazing advocates for the Tour de Victoria, they always bring a large group with them!

New 60-km Ride Seems Less Daunting After Longer Training Rides

Happy (almost) BC Day! If you’re like me, the arrival of August is especially exciting because it means the Tour de Victoria is finally here. August 18 is the big day.

I’ve spent the past few months getting on my bike as often as I can to help prepare for the jump from the 45-km distance I’ve completed in past years to the new 60-km ride the Tour de Victoria is launching this year. With the amazing weather we’ve enjoyed, it was easy to avoid using the car to run errands, and I managed to really rack up some miles!

The Strava app on my iPhone, which I use to keep track of all my rides, tells me I rode 154 km in May, followed by 268 km in June, and then 350 km in July. That included my so-called “training regimen” — i.e. long rides involving stops at breweries. (Rewards work well for me!) For instance, in last month’s blog I described an epic weekend trip I did out to Sooke with some buddies where we stopped at several breweries on the way there and back, totalling nearly 110 km in two days.

Strava training ride

Not all of my longer rides in July actually involved beer. Midway through the month I met up with my friend and fellow blogger Travis Paterson. We started riding the Tour de Victoria together several years ago, but he quickly moved up to longer distances. This year he is attempting the 140-km ride. I wrote “attempting” even though I know he will conquer it no problem. Check out his July blog about climbing the Observatory Hill three times in a row — something I don’t think I could even do once!

Travis Paterson training ride

On our ride, we stopped halfway for lunch at Charlotte and the Quail, the comfy restaurant at the Gardens at HCP. It was a delicious meal, and rather than weighing ourselves down with beer, we got jacked up on coffee. All in all, it was a 32-km ride, not particularly long, but Travis pushed the pace above my normal cruising speed so it was definitely a good workout for me.

Strava training ride map

Later in July, I invited my brother Ed and a couple of friends, Chris and Mark, to join me on a ride up to North Saanich to check out a new brewery, Howl Brewing, that opened recently. A round trip of more than 60 km, this would be my longest single-day ride in recent memory, and it would definitely prove that I can complete the Tour de Victoria on August 18.

Joe Wiebe and friends training ride

It was a gorgeous, hot Sunday, and we made quick time getting to our first “hydration stop,” Category 12 Brewing, conveniently located on Keating X Rd about halfway up the Saanich Peninsula. We made such good time that we were actually early and had to wait 10 minutes for the brewery to open its tasting room at noon. Although we didn’t eat, C12 does serve pizza cooked on site by Pizzeria Prima Strada so it is a great destination on any cycling trip.

Howl Brewery

From there we rode up to the airport and then followed the “Flight Path,” a 9.3-km walking/cycling trail that encircles the airport. Next to the Fickle Fig Farm Market we spotted a sign advertising Howl Brewing and happily parked our bikes outside. This was the 37-km mark of our journey — and we still had to make our way home yet.

Danny Van Netten Howl Brewery

Howl Brewing is a tiny “nanobrewery” started by Danny Van Netten, a longtime bartender at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. Over the past several years he has bought and stockpiled used brewing equipment in his garage until he was finally ready to open Howl.

Howl Brewery sign

The beers were tasty — my favourite was the Blueberry Hefeweizen, and he also had an ESB and an IPA on tap for samples and growler fills. Eventually, Howl hopes to get a picnic licence so that people can enjoy food from the Fickle Fig next door along with a beer from the brewery, but for now you have to stand in the small “tasting room” area just inside the front door.

Joe Wiebe

After fuelling up we climbed back on our bikes and began the long ride home. First, we crossed over the highway to Sidney so we could ride along the coast (just like the beginning of the 45-km ride from past years). At Royal Oak some of us chose to go back over the highway so we could visit Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery.

By the time I got home, I’d cycled 72.7 km, a new record for me. I felt surprisingly good, and was able to get back on my bike immediately the next day without too much soreness. All in all, this bodes well for the 60-km ride facing me on August 18. Nonetheless, I still intend to ride the route once before the big day just to make sure I know what to expect. After all, I hear there are a couple of killer hills on the route…

All I know for sure is that the reward at the end of the ride will be an ice cold Tour de Victoria Kolsch from Spinnakers, which is served at the finish line to all of those (of legal age) who want one, along with a hearty meal.

Spinnakers beer

Joe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.

When injury slows down your training

(Sandy) I’m going to have to leave the interesting part of this blog to Kim.  Last year I was not in top condition to ride the TDV due to a major coming together with a concrete highway barrier during a spring group ride (injury included broken ribs, orbital bone, stitches etc.) and I had to compress my training period over the summer.  So that year I emphasized hill climbing rather than distance and recovered enough conditioning for the TDV event to finish with my best time to date but didn’t have enough left in the tank for the final push along Dallas Road to break the 5 hour barrier.

Since last fall, I’ve had some knee problems – stiffness and discomfort after rides.  This has gotten much worse since our trip to England and my physiotherapist has benched me over most of the last month – so I’m short of training time again this year.  Even worse than last year.

Sandy with knee injuryI’m OK when riding but my knee swells and stiffens up after the ride – very painful until I get moving again – so I’ve clearly got some healing to do.  I’ve not ridden much over the last month but have the green light to start up again, but at a very easy pace and only for short rides.  Not conducive to training for the TDV.  Nothing like a cold therapy machine when the body is hurting!

If I can keep up some riding, 2 or 3 times a week and starting 30 to 40 kms, I am confident I can “get through” either the 100 or 140 km ride but won’t plan to set any records on the way.

Last year I did a readiness “test” ride with TaG up Mt Baker– the climb to the top makes Munn Road seem a bit pedestrian!

Mt Baker ride

But that ride and other endurance training rides of 100 kms or more won’t happen this year.  I am pretty sure I can manage my pace and fueling strategy, based on past experience (I rode with the BC Randonneurs for a few years) and as long as I get on the bike a couple times a week.  I will have to see how my knee responds over the next month, and maybe trim my TDV distance back a bit this year to make sure I finish well, or finish at all.  Won’t target breaking 5 hours though!

(Kim): No such issues for me, though.  While Sandy has been resting and rehabbing his knee, I’ve been training 3 times per week with Silver Wheels and TaG, riding between 50 and 80 kms each outing.

The TaG rides include serious hill climbing in West Vancouver – around 1000 meters vertical

Sandy on West Vancouver hill climb

ride mapas well as paceline work with TaG out to Richmond (pushing through the wind – I want to be ready because I remember the TDV a couple of years ago!)


TaG team ride

And regular rides with Silver Wheels such as the Sunshine Coast from West Vancouver to Sechelt with lunch at the pub.

Silver Strides team ride

Or a fast paced group ride to Port Moody along the Barnet Highway with the Silver Wheels.

Silver Wheels team ride

Or a quick ride around UBC and SW Marine with coffee at Jericho Beach.

Silver Wheels team ride

My weekly average has been near 200 kms and I hope to keep this up in preparation for the TDV.  With conditioning from the climbing rides led by TaG and longer rides with Silver Wheels, I should be ready for the TREK 100 km ride on my new TREK Domaine bike, including Munn Road.

We found a good home for my old bike last week.

Sandy and Kim Fleming will be blogging for the Tour de Victoria as they train for this August. Amazing advocates for the Tour de Victoria, they always bring a large group with them!

Getting ready for the 140km with Observatory Hill Climb repeats

It’s not part of the Tour de Victoria, but it’s a pretty sweet view. And it’s a great way to pack in a lot of climbing in a short time frame.

On Tuesday night I headed up to West Saanich to attack the Observatory Hill Climb on Little Saanich Mountain.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m Travis Paterson, new to long distance cycling, formerly of long days drinking in the sun, not long days on a bike. Training time is starting to run out and if I’m going to be able to finish the Harbour Air Seaplanes 140km route on Aug. 18 without suffering greatly, I need to get my legs under me. Again, 140km is 40km longer than any ride I’ve done and is twice as long as my biggest ride so far in 2018.

Hence the Observatory Hill Climb.

It’s about 2.2 kilometres up with an average of about six per cent grade (sometimes a bit steeper but not much). It’s also great as the road is often closed to drivers, including nights and weekends.

As an up-and-back, the Observatory doesn’t quite fit into the Tour de Victoria route criteria but as a training ride it falls smack in between Prospect Lake and Elk Lake which are both major parts of the TdV 90, 140 and 160 km rides.

A couple of local hotshots made the Observatory Hill Climb kinda famous in 2015 when they climbed it 68 times in one day. And while that’s just ridiculous, one of them almost finished first on the Tour de Victoria 140km Epic that year (even though it’s not a race) and I’ve been inspired ever since.

Every time I hit it the last few years to prepare for the Tour de Victoria there’s always been some other cyclists there. This time there was a few people and there was this kid in yellow.

It’s common among the more ambitious cyclists in town to do hill repeats on the Observatory. I attempted what’s known as the Observatory Hat Trick.   

The kid in yellow did five repeats while I did three, and he did six in total. Honestly, I was a bit slower than normal because I was trying to be cool and shoot video of my evening at various stages. Either way the kid in yellow was going to slay me, and he did, but he was very nice.

My climb is here on Strava for anyone to see.

I always entertain the idea that at the end of the summer, after I’ve completed the Tour de Victoria and I’m in my best cycling shape of the year, I’ll go back and attack the Observatory for a personal best.


-Travis Paterson is a community reporter for the Saanich News and local Black Press papers. At night and on the weekend, he is a spandex-loving poser on a bike.

Training rides making TdV seem less daunting

Happy Summer! I hope you’ve been enjoying the warmer summer weather as much as I have. It certainly has inspired me to get out on my bike more often.

Over my previous two blogs, I outlined how I was looking ahead to the Tour de Victoria with an eye to training for the new 60-km ride this year. I mentioned that I was a little nervous about it because I haven’t completed a ride of that length before — at least not since my early 20s, and that doesn’t count since that was a long time ago now…

As the weather warmed up in June, I was on my bike nearly every day, often just to run errands or attend a business meeting. Any excuse was good enough for me to jump on my bike. I did squeeze in some training rides in the 20-km range, and then on Father’s Day weekend I asked my family if I could take half of Saturday to myself for a longer ride.

training - strava route map

That ride turned out to be a 55-km trip up to Island View Beach along the Lochside Trail. I didn’t plan on going that far, but the day was so beautiful I just kept riding, and when I found myself at Michell’s Farm Market I realized how close the beach was and thought that would be a nice place to stop for a rest before heading home. Well, one thing I didn’t really consider was the steep hill between the farm and the beach. It was fairly tough to complete heading towards the beach, and then as I coasted down the slope on the other side I realized it goes down a lot further towards the beach, which would mean a pretty nasty climb on my way back out.

Island View Beach

After relaxing at the beach and munching an energy bar, I scouted around a bit to see if there was another way back to the Lochside Trail that avoided that big hill. No luck. Oh well, hill climbing is an important part of cycle training, right? (My buddy Travis Paterson certainly thinks so.) I’ll admit right here and now that I walked up most of that hill. It was just too steep and long, especially after riding about 30km already that day. But I enjoyed the glide down the other side and then rode hard all the way home, proud of breaking my previous record distance of 50 km.

A few days later, I got an email inviting me to join some friends on a weekend ride out to Sooke. The plan was to stop at breweries along the way, stay overnight, and then return home the next day. Pretty much my perfect weekend! Although I was intimidated by the prospect of riding about 100 km in two days, I felt like my experience riding to Island View Beach had proven I could handle it.

Training - Strava 60km

The weekend weather turned out to be perfect for the ride — sunny but not blazing hot, just warm enough that I didn’t need a jacket. I met 5 friends at Spinnakers on Saturday morning. Following brunch and a beer, we rode along the E&N Rail Trail to Lighthouse Brewing, where we checked out the new tasting room under construction there. From there we continued on the E&N Rail Trail out to where it joins the Galloping Goose in Colwood.

We ventured off the Galloping Goose to get to the Axe & Barrel Brewhouse, which is located on the north side of the highway in Langford. We relaxed on the patio at the brewery, enjoying flights of beers and some snacks from the pub’s kitchen.

training group ride

Then we were back on our bikes for the next leg out to Sooke. This part of the trail is quiet and secluded, travelling through some beautiful forests and along gorgeous coastlines — first Matheson Lake and then the Sooke Basin itself. Once in Sooke, we celebrated our ride at the Sooke Oceanside Brewery, conveniently located next to the Shell Station on the highway just outside of the town centre.

Training ride - Sooke

After a while we continued on to Sooke Brewing, a custom-built facility right in the heart of Sooke’s central “downtown.” A highlight there was a charcuterie tray we ordered from Black Market Meats, which is right next to the brewery. They even delivered the tray right to our patio table! We stayed in an AirBNB rental near Sooke Harbour House. Total riding on Day 1 was 58.5km. And don’t worry — we weren’t riding inebriated. We only had sample flights or a glass of beer at each “hydration stop” and we also drank plenty of water.

Training ride Strava

After dinner and some board games we all crashed. In the morning we fuelled up with coffee and breakfast scones before getting back on our bikes for the ride home. I was surprised at how good I felt following such a long ride the day before, and once we got going I felt like I could ride all day. We stopped for brunch about an hour later at the beautiful Glenrosa Farm restaurant, and then continued our ride from there to the Four Mile Brewpub in Colwood where we enjoyed one final beer before heading for home. Total riding on Day 2 was 51.4 km, making for an overall weekend total of nearly 110km.

Following those long rides I certainly feel less daunted by the prospect of completing the 60km ride at the Tour de Victoria in August. That said, I still haven’t gone 60km in one day, let along in one ride without breaks. But I recently heard about a new brewery called Howl Brewing that has opened up by the airport, which is apparently 33km from my house. Riding there and back seems like the perfect way to break the 60km barrier! Wish me luck…


Joe WiebeJoe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.

Bike trip for 3 weeks in England adds training variety

Well …

We are back from 3 weeks in England including 9 days of cycling in the Lake District and the Cotswolds.  The bikes were not quite what we are accustomed to (hybrids mostly) and the roads and paths were definitely not what we usually ride but there was lots of challenging terrain, even by Munn Road and Esquimalt Lagoon standards.

Lake District and the Cotswolds

We were able to get in over 400 km’s of cycling both on and off road during our trip and while not adding to our training plan for the TDV, at least when combined with upwards of 25,000 “steps” during our typical sightseeing days, we maintained whatever fitness we had before the trip.

The roads in England were narrow, windy and definitely not flat, but on the whole the drivers were very courteous and gave us sufficient room on the road.  We tried to stay off the “A” roads as much as possible except when we traversed between Windermere and Keswick in the Lake District, and of course we avoided the Motorways.  The “B” roads were pretty good, but narrow, and the surface was typically rough with a lot of chip seal.  The “A” roads often had a bike path beside the road or allowed riding on the sidewalk to stay off the narrow (by our standards) roads.  The national bike path system also allowed us to rely on small local paths to a great extent.

Windermere and Keswick in the Lake District

Some of the signage could be a bit confusing, though:

street signage

The Lake District had a lot of gravel paths and off-road excursions and the roads seemed to follow old sheep paths straight up some local “mountain” ranges (OK – hills).  Even with mountain bike gearing, we must admit to walking the final few feet over the 25% climb of the Newlands Pass between Keswick and Buttermere.  And the descent down the other side was quite entertaining – good test for our brakes!

Newlands Pass between Keswick and Buttermere

I was reminded however that I am not a fan of flat pedals and flat bars – a bit of a mishap while descending on loose gravel!

We also took one day to follow the Avon Canal tow path from Branford-on-Avon, near Bath, to the Caen Locks.  Luckily we had mountain bikes that day because the tow path was quite rough.  But a good day riding and the canal system is remarkable and surprising.  We also found a couple of very nice pubs alongside the canal (no surprise there).  The Caen  Locks are a continuous series of 16 manually controlled locks on the Avon Canal – it takes nearly 5 hours for a canal boat to traverse the locks!

The Caen  Locks

Lots of local pubs – it seemed that every village with more than a half-dozen houses had a pub as well, even if there was no other store.  The various market towns where we stayed had lots of good restaurants and eateries and we found the pub fare to be generally good and only around 50% more expensive than in Vancouver when exchange, VAT and service charges were taken into account.

local English pubs

No sooner than we returned from England, to help get over jet lag we joined a number of our Silver Wheels riders for a 3-day trip to Victoria to sample some of the roads featured during the TDV.  This included the Seaside route and Metchosin Road to Sooke – taking some refreshments (and having a post-libations bean bag toss) at 17 Mile Pub.

Silver Wheels riders for a 3-day trip to Victoria

So now back to our cycling routine –  two days with Silver Wheels (mainly social riding ) and one day with TAG (hill climbing and pacelining).  We will be adding some extra longer distance rides as the summer progresses to gauge our hydration and conditioning in preparation for the TDV.

Sandy and Kim Fleming will be blogging for the Tour de Victoria as they train for this August. Amazing advocates for the Tour de Victoria, they always bring a large group with them!

Own Munn Rd, don’t let it own you

We need to talk about the Munn Road hill climb.

Maybe you’ve ridden it before.

Maybe you haven’t.

If you don’t know Munn, it’s kind of a thing in Victoria.

Tour de Victoria cyclists either have a relationship with Munn, or they’re about to have one.

For starters, it’s serious enough that the fastest recorded times on record for the 3.6km, 4% climb are shared by Nathan Brown (just some guy that wore the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France) and local hero Rob Britton (just some guy who used to live in Victoria and who won the Tour of Utah, the second biggest annual U.S. race).

So, like, if these guys are burying themselves to make sure they have the Strava KOM, you know it’s a thing.

For the rest of us normals, I think we can agree when I say the problem with Munn is not us, it’s Munn.

I mean, seriously, how did Munn get so totally arrogant. It acts like it’s the most beautiful climb in Victoria. But it really needs to get over itself.

Or, wait, I need to get over Munn?

Okay it’s me. And you, if you’re doing this year’s Tour de Victoria 90km, 140km or 160km route.

I’m doing the Harbour Air 140km and I’m… well I’m freaking out.

To put it into context, my two biggest rides to date have been the 90km Legend routes at the 2016 and 2017 Tour de Victoria [this distance is now 100km for 2018].

Which is why I’ve already ridden Munn Road thrice this spring. And I plan to do it a few more times ahead of Aug. 18.

Travis at Royal Roads University

Finding time to ride as a masters student at Royal Roads ain’t easy. But it has to be done.

Munn is a jerk.

Along the TDV Munn Road Strava segment there are a series of flat sections and even descents. But it’s a gut check for joes like me.

I mean, Munn is just as rude as it is arrogant. It acts like it’s a big deal, but, like, there’s no view of the ocean. I mean, come on, it’s Vancouver Island, why would I bust my hump for 3.6km to hit a peak that has a view of nothing but boring cedars, as far as you can see. Just cedars. I mean, seriously, you’re sucking wind and all there is to see are thousands of massive air-cleaning cedars, filtering the purest air on Earth. What a drag.

Thing is, you don’t need to ride Munn more than once to build a relationship.

Munn knows I’ll be back. And even as I write this I wonder, maybe my next ride, if I just jump back into the big ring on those two descents, I can shave 30 seconds.

Behind Munn Road: The TDV 140km and 160km have big climbs before Munn, but if you’re doing the 140km, you won’t hit Munn until you’ve done 90, which is a significant marker.

Munn carries an average of 4% grade over 3.6 kilometres. Beware, Munn sucks you in on winding ramps that you don’t realize are coming around the next corner.


-Travis Paterson is a community reporter for the Saanich News and local Black Press papers. At night and on the weekend, he is a spandex-loving poser on a bike.


Finding a training incentive can make all the difference

In my first blog last month I introduced myself as a beer writer and event producer who loves to go on bike rides for exercise. After completing the Tour de Victoria’s 45-km ride for the past few years, I am making the jump to the new Christie-Phoenix 60-km ride this summer — a challenge for me since the longest ride I’ve done in recent memory is 50 km.

I find it’s good to have incentive when I go on a training ride. Sometimes it’s as easy as setting myself a challenge or designing a new route I’ve never done before. I don’t like to double back so usually I try to do a loop of some sort. Here in Victoria, the geography naturally leads to some great circle routes. One ride I often do follows the waterfront from downtown around James Bay, along Dallas Road, through Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay and then up to Mount Douglas. From there, I take the Lochside Trail to the Galloping Goose Trail, which returns me downtown. All told, it is a 30- to 35-km ride depending on the route I take.

During May, my Strava app tells me I rode about 170 km, which works out to about 42 km per week, including two rides longer than 30 km. (I would have done more, but I was out of town for a week over the May long weekend.)

Strave Victoria ride plus Johnson St Bridge

This route from May 12 is a good example of the circle route I described above. A highlight was the forced break I had to take when the new Johnson Street Bridge went up as I arrived there. I was impressed by how silent its mechanism was as it went up and down (watch my video here) — and by how pleasant and safe it is to cross compared to the old Blue Bridge with no bike lanes and its not-very-bike-friendly steel grating. I jokingly titled this ride “Long way round to Vessel” because I finished up at my local liquor store, Vessel, to buy myself a post-ride reward.

May 12 route around Victoria

Speaking of rewarding oneself on a longer ride, my other long ride in May was a new route I tried with the goal of riding past as many of Victoria’s brewpubs and breweries as possible. I rode out to Esquimalt past Swans and Spinnakers. I could have gone past Lighthouse Brewing using the E&N Rail Trail, but since that bike trail isn’t complete yet, I chose to stay on the roads. When Lighthouse opens its new tasting room later this summer, however, that trail will definitely be a more attractive option. Then I took the Old Island Highway through View Royal. It was my first time cycling on that road — although busy with car traffic, it does have a painted bike lane so I felt safe enough.

4 Mile Pub

One potential stop for refreshment was the Four Mile Brewpub about 10 km into my ride. As it is situated on a relatively steep hill it would have been nice to stop there, but apart from pausing to take a photo, I wanted to keep riding. At the Trans-Canada Highway I joined the Galloping Goose and continued along it to Colwood. At that point, I decided not to try to make it all the way to the Axe & Barrel Brewhouse in Langford since that would have added another 8 km round trip to my total ride and also would have involved some non-bike-friendly road travel.

Phillips Beer Glasses

So I returned along the Galloping Goose and detoured into Rock Bay past Hoyne Brewing, Driftwood Brewery and the Moon Under Water Brewpub. I rode past Vancouver Island Brewing and finally stopped for refreshment at the 28-km mark of my ride at Phillips Brewing’s new tasting room. There I rewarded myself with a glass of Phillips’ delicious Tiger Shark Citra Pale Ale — okay, actually two glasses of it — the first one disappeared very quickly!

Looking ahead to June I plan on ramping up my training considerably including some longer rides in the 40- to 50-km range. Since I definitely like to include a reward (i.e. craft beer), one ride I am considering is a visit to Category 12 Brewing in Saanichton, which is a 44-km round trip along the Lochside Trail for me. I’ll report back in a month’s time. Cheers!

Joe WiebeJoe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.