https://ridewithgps.com/routes/13770854

Pemby 400 PreRide

By Dave King

Paul Van Wersch and Dave King did the preride on Saturday May 14. The weather was a mixed bag, but

hot and windy were the 2 predominant features. We chose to leave a bit earlier than the scheduled start

time for the ride date of May 21 to see if we could minimize the number of hours of riding in darkness,

and beat some of the heat on the Whistler climb. There were pros and cons to this…..read on.

I have broken up this preride report into two sections:

Ride Summary - General info for the day, including food (I like food).

Route Descriptors - At the end of this report I have listed a few parts of the route that may be a bit

puzzling. The route sheet (when finalized) attempts to take the puzzlement.

Ride Summary

Precautionary Advice – The first 160+ kilometres of this route are challenging!!! Lots more up than

down; that ever-present UP to Whistler. Don’t let it bother if you get to Whistler and you are thinking

“bloody hell, this is taking forever”. This is how I was feeling, but it definitely gets a bit easier after

heading north from Whistler.

The start of the route takes you along some main roads in Vancouver (reasonably quiet at 6am) and

then Stanley Park, which is always beautiful in the morning. Of course, Marine Drive in West Van is also

very pretty, especially early in the day.

And then you get onto the highway just north of Horseshoe Bay. The shoulder highways for the majority

of the ride were reasonably clean…no big chunky debris anywhere. The nice wide shoulder and the

rumble strips are a bit of a blessing, as not many cars like to stray over those rumble strips. Thank

goodness. Still the route is mainly busy highway and as it is the May long weekend, you will be in for the

physical requirements of a 400 as well as the mental requirements of riding a busy highway. You may

wish to wear earplugs, especially if there is precipitation, as that makes the car traffic even louder. Be

careful when you have to cross the highways for any reason; the traffic moves quickly.

As you start up the highway, if you are getting low on water, water is available at Porteau Cove in the

washrooms. Sink is preferred over other water sources. Immediately beyond Porteau is the narrowest

shoulder on this stretch.

The climb up from Squamish is all part of the “this is taking forever and I am not putting on kilometres”

mindset that may bother some people. The scenery is amazing with the Tantalus Range to the west, and

a still reasonable snow pack on other peaks. The wind did get us a little bit through this section, adding

to that idea of not moving fast. You may also be passed by a huge number of bikes in both directions.

Don’t worry, as all those bikes will be attached to the roofs and backs of cars of the weekend warriors

heading to/from Whistler.

You pass Brandywine Falls just before the turnoff to Callaghan. Washrooms yes, potable water no.

You may be apprehensive of the climb to Callaghan Valley. Don’t be. Do be careful as you attempt to

cross the highway to the Callaghan Road, as the traffic heading south from Whistler is 2 lane at this

point and doing Mach 1. Once on the Callaghan, it is a steady climb up. The first part seems the

steepest. There are lots of bikes on this side road, and they are mostly being powered by humans, as

opposed to dragged up by cars. There was a streetsweeper taking care of the Callaghan Road; the

shoulders were very clean all the way up. All praise the mighty streetsweeper. The operator thought I

was a bit odd when I wanted to take his picture. And then I asked for his autograph. He drove quickly

away.

When you arrive up near the park, you will see a big sign on the road which reads “park is closed for the

season”. Ride past this sign. You will next come to a gated sign “Private Road”. This is where we will

have the control set up, yet we will ask you to take your bike a few kilometres further, to the actual end

of the road, where you get to answer the skill testing question. At the end of the road, there is a building

with washrooms and potable fresh cool water. We will have water/food at the manned control also, just

back down the road at the gate. Great views of Black Tusk as you descend from Callaghan.

When you get into Whistler Creekside, you can dine at Husky Gas. No further explanation required. Or,

on the right side as you approach Creekside, there is a decent grocery store, accessed from Lake Placid

Road. Hard to explain exactly how to get there, but for those who know Creekside, the market is on the

upper parking deck. Or just ask anybody that lives in the area. We walked our bikes up some stairs, but

you can ride to the upper parking area via Lake Placid Road. http://www.creeksidemarket.com/location/

Ensure you have food here, as this is your last likely food stop before Pemberton, as you will miss

Whistler proper when, 2 kilometres further on the highway, you turn off on Blueberry to ride the Valley

Trail as opposed to going on the highway through the main town.

After you have navigated the Valley Trail, you come out on the highway north of town, near Meadow

Sports Centre. Once back on the highway, you get a bit of a downhill, all the way to Pemberton. I say “a

bit of” because, like life, the road is full of ups and downs, but they are predominantly downs. Thais is

except for that last switchback-filled climb, short and not so sweet, just south of Pemberton. One Mile

Lake is a great swimming hole just before Pemberton, right hand side, heading north. You cannot miss it.

It was really warm on the preride, and the swim was tempting, but we knew we were in for a long haul

on this 400, and we rode past. When you pull into Pemberton, there is a visitor centre, right hand side,

just before the stop light. There is water here outside the main building. Again, nice and cool and

refreshing!! Did I mention it was really hot during the preride?

Now, a nice and relaxing ride up the Pemberton Valley with absolutely stunning scenery and a nice quiet

road. Enjoy this part, as you definitely have earned it by now. The numbers below are approximate (still

being worked out in the route sheet)…… You will be heading up the valley (less than 20 kilometres from

Pemberton. There will be a staffed control (approximately 1-2 kilometres past Wilson Road, which is on

the right side). I think Wilson Road was one of only a few actual side roads up the whole valley. The

valley road is paved all the way.

When you get back to Pemberton, ensure you have enough food and water, because remember all the

ups and downs to Pemberton from Whistler? Well they have just been reversed for you. This portion of

highway is definitely quieter than the Horseshoe Bay to Whistler portion, but there are still cars passing

you every few minutes for sure. As you near Whistler, volume picks up again.

Back into Whistler, the food store in Creekside closes at 10pm. All other grocery stores close 9ish. You

can forage for pizza or other similar places in the village. Or…… Husky never closes.

The ride from Whistler back to Squamish is mostly gently sloping down, but it will likely be dark, and

your pace may slow to allow for this. On some of the descents, you may want to take a lane. Ensure you

don’t have any four-wheeled friends vying for the same lane. Ensure you have enough food and

beverage for this stretch, as there are not lots of options on the way (read zero). Once into Squamish,

some of the fast food places keep extra late hours (McDonalds near downtown Squamish, on the

highway). Live it up at “your choice of fine eatery”.

The later you get onto the Squamish-Horseshoe Bay stretch, the better. The road definitely quiets later

at night, and you can usually see the lights from the cars coming up behind you, except when you are on

some of the stretches with tight corners. Just before Porteau Cove, there are some nasty storm drains

and minimal shoulder. Be aware after you descend the short strip just south of Furry Creek golf course.

This is the worst section for wheel biters. Take the lane if needed, but be sure you do not have cars

approaching from behind. Same for some of the big descents; make sure the lane is yours to take if you

want to stay off your brakes.

Once you are back in West Van, the road should be virtually empty. It is a long stretch all the way over to

Second Narrows where you have a bit of route finding to get you to the finish at Knight and Day.

Route stuff

Everything here is in order.

Cassiar bike route – Your legs will not yet be warm when you get to the Macdonalds at Cassiar and

Hastings. You must ride on the road which takes you from Cassiar and Hastings and would lead you

north to the Second Narrows Bridge. You are on this road only as far as the first light (200m or so) and

then take your left (west) towards the PNE/racetrack. The road then curves down to the tunnel.

Stanley Park- If you are used to commuting by bike from downtown through the causeway, don’t forget

that this route goes out around Brockton Point. Make sure you go to Brockton. If you forget, and are

partway up the causeway, turn and go back. Thou hast been warned.

Callaghan Valley – Even though there is a manned control near the top of the Callaghan, you have to

ride to the very end of the road to answer the question on the control card. Ride past the ski jumps

which will be on your right. Keep going until the very end of the road, which has a building that looks all

closed up on weekends, but amazingly the door is open for bathroom access and the nice cool water

machine.

Whistler Valley Trail – You will be riding north towards Whistler Village. You turn left onto Blueberry

Drive. Immediately on your right will be a pathway which parallels the highway. Do not take this path.

Continue up Blueberry Drive, only another 25-50 metres, you will see a second Valley Trail, running in

the same direction. This is the trail you want. The two trails are within spitting distance of each other.

We know that because, yes, we were able to stand between the two, and spit to either one. What else is

there to do in Whistler? You are on the correct trail if the golf course is on your right side. The first trail,

if you were to take it, would have the golf course on your left side. Bad.

Before you start the trail, check your odometer. There are a number of turns throughout this section, all

captured on the route sheet with the correct distances. There are also some descriptors on the route

sheet. There may also be fresh signs, posted by a randonneur, with directional arrows on the trail

markers. Cannot confirm they will still be there when you arrive. The information control is along this

section of the route, at one of the trail intersections.

Pemberton Valley Turnaround Point – the distance from the last turn in the village of Pemberton is less

than 20 kilometres up the valley. This is a manned control, and again is 1-2 kilometres past Wilson Road

(on your right). There are very few roads off of the Pemberton Valley Road, let alone signed roads.

Should the control not be manned for whatever reason, there will be an info control. Also, if you reach

the hard left in the valley road, just before the turn off to the Hurley River Forest Service Road, you have

gone just a little bit too far.

Results

Member Time Bicycle Class Sortable time
Arscott, Deirdre 23:18 Single 83880000
Bernhardt, Luis 18:26 Single 66360000
Caddick, Jodi 24:15 Single 87300000
Cullum, Chris 18:24 Single 66240000
Fergusson, Eric 23:18 Single 83880000
Fingler, Colin 22:35 Single 81300000
Hagen, Mike 16:22 Single 58920000
Hartline, Andrew 16:22 Single 58920000
Hopcraft, Francis DNF Single 999999999
Jones, Meyrick 20:37 Single 74220000
King, Dave 21:05 VP Single 75900000
Maurer, Bill 22:35 Single 81300000
Mudrakoff, Jeff 22:05 Single 79500000
Neifer, Roy 22:20 Single 80400000
Nichol, Ross 23:18 Single 83880000
Ogawa, Shiro 24:15 Single 87300000
Premack, Craig 20:59 Single 75540000
Press, Nigel 14:39 Single 52740000
Reimer, Andy 25:18 Single 91080000
Stary, Peter 19:05 Single 68700000
Szarecki, Maciej 25:18 Single 91080000
van Wersch, Paul 21:05 VP Single 75900000
Wheeler, Roland 21:24 Single 77040000
Wyne, Theo 20:05 Single 72300000