This day was the second early start in a row, the back end of twin 100 mile (165 km) days for the riders. The so-called century ride is spoken of with great reverence among cyclists. I have only done it once in the 17 years that I have been riding. I have come close a couple times, like ten years ago with the B4B Centennial Ride, when I rode 155 km or so on consecutive days through the high Rocky Mountain passes called Rogers Pass and Kicking Horse Pass.
Even on a long, flat ride like today's with good weather, and good if not excellent fitness, a 100 mile ride will kick your butt! But it will also leave you with a terrific sense of accomplishment and achievement. So kudos to every cyclist on the B4B Vancouver Island & Sunshine Coast tour, because you did two 100 mile rides on consecutive days; not only that, but the first day also included a couple thousand feet of climbing!
Despite the early morning that comes with a 165 km day, the three of us were in good spirits going through the sleepy, pretty fishing town of the Chemainus, and unaware of the events that were about to unfold over the next few hours...
At 9:30 in the morning, the temperature was climbing beyond 25°C. I took a seat on this little island and stretched out to bake while waiting for everyone. (Note to self: don't take a seat on the island of a busy highway!)
After a long period of time, I was slowly realizing that I should wait in the meager shade of two little trees across the off-ramp, but I had not yet acted on this thought since I was pondering what was delaying the bicyclists.
Two items of note here: A) common sense dictated that I should have been hanging out under one of two little trees on the roadside. B) the riders should have been coming down this stretch of highway and making this corner and continuing on to a nearby scheduled rest stop during the time of this incident. Instead, they were scattered around the area of Nanaimo. Regarding point A, I don't know which of the two trees I would have been hanging out by, and I doubt that my reflexes were fast enough to jump out of the way of the car as it came over the curb and hit the tree.
Regarding point B, according to one of our long-time riders, this was the first time in the 7 years that he has been riding with this group that a rest stop for the riders had been missed. If everything had gone according to plan, they would have been travelling the highway while a high-speed car chase was happening and then any number of things could have happened of which none of them was good. I like to call experiences such as these a 'supernatural coincidence,' because I believe that God turned a frustrating situation into a potentially life-saving diversion, and not for the first or last time either.