Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fleet Main Fondo

It's no big surprise, I love riding logging roads. Especially when I can talk friends into riding them with me. The more remote and rugged the better. The Fleet Main fits this profile well.


I first rode the Fleet last summer on a 500km bikepacking trip to Bamfield and back with Halldor. Fleet Main wasn't in our proposed route, but sometimes when the Backroads Mapbook says "road impassable" they mean it, so Fleet Main became our new route. Since then I have wanted to ride it again, sure enough I was able to convince Terry and Mark into what was going be a long day in the saddle. The "Fleet Main Fondo" was born and with that we loaded up Terry's car and parked at Kinsol Trestle in order to make a 160km loop consisting of approx 100km of gravel. Road conditions unknown but likely poor, potential hike a bike sections and far from any services, road bikes seemed liked the logical choice... Well at least we swapped to mountain bike shoes/pedals.





After a long climb up from the Koksilah River the route becomes gated and deactivated as it descends into the valley before rejoining with the active Fleet Main. It was here that Mark's troubles began. Flats, lots of flats.






A quick swimming hole and the decommissioned portion of Lens Road lead us back to the pavement of Pacific Marine Road by which point Mark, who had had more flats than any of us care to remember an exact number, was done with flats. So like the badass he is he rode back to Cowichan Lake on the rim. He wasn't far behind Terry and caught up when we stopped for food and water in Cowichan. At that point Mark decided the pub was far more appealing than 50km of gravel on a flat. So leaving him behind Terry and I set off to complete the loop, grab the car and would later come back for Mark who was enjoying a more than well earned beer.

Strava File from the ride can be found here: https://www.strava.com/activities/327068282