Saturday, July 5, 2008

Finally Back At It!

I've been at work all June, and required to report for duty at 7:30 Mountain Time, the same hour as the hash data comes out. Therefore no hashing for me, because by the time I would get internet access at the end of the day, it was time to go to bed to do it all again the next day. Toss in food poisoning making me miss the SFU hash and it was a hashfree month.

Never mind, here it is today, a Saturday and despite slightly diminished CON and STR stats as a result of the food poisoning, I was ready to go find the nearest hashpoint that wasn't underwater.

Initially I had a dragalong companion, with the wrinkle that he was sort of to be dragging me, as I was going to ride on the back of his motorbike. We just had a forty-five minute errand to do first and then were going to hit the hash on the way back. All ready to leave at 2:30, this was going to be sweet. "Just a second," he says, just as I get my helmet on, "I have to check the address." Turns out it's an hour and ten minutes away, and closes at five. No time to go there and back before four and no time to go after four. I'm on my own.

I thought I could get to the hash in an hour and a half if I pushed it. I rushed around to change clothes, helmets, shoes, etcetera and transfer my stuff from motorbike to bicycle. I got out the door at 2:45, knowing everything had to go right for me to cross town and two bridges to find the hash.

Everything didn't. There's a tricky bit in between the Queensborough Bridge and the Alex Fraser where they post helpful signs reading merely "Bike Route" and you don't know if they are the bike route to Richmond, Delta or New West. I spent about twenty minutes casting about for the right road, making worse progress than a pedestrian with a cane, until I finally got on the right sidewalk for the Alex Fraser Bridge. I knew four o' clock was passing as I crossed the bridge, but I persevered.

Exiting the bridge I knew that I was going to be forced onto another anonymous bike route, this one unpaved through the forest, beside a river, but I had a plan to get out of the woods, so I switched on the GPS at that point. Unfortunately the forest canopy prevented acquiring satellites, and the unit kept deciding to switch off because it wasn't finding any.

I forded the stream at the first opportunity and came out in a subdivision that had sky, only to discover I had gone too far south. Heading north hooked me up with another wooded bike path that matched the vector I needed, so I followed that. I ended up with the same no satellite problem, plus mud and tree litter clogged fenders, and had to escape by hauling the bike up a steep wooded trail, bringing me out a mere kilometre from the hashpoint. A few lefts and rights later I was triumphantly at the destination. There was even a piece of board on the ground that I imagined had once said xkcd in chalk letters before the rain washed it away. It was an elementary school playground, the peculiar pavement markings visible in the Google Maps image now so faded that I wouldn't have spotted them if I weren't looking for them to verify my position. The green vertical things appear to be part of some sort of ball game, I guess a variation on basketball. There was a soccer tournament or a sports day or something going on in the fields on the other side of the building.

Sadly, it was 16:45 and anyone else who had made it to this easy destination was long gone. I deliberately haven't looked to see if anyone else went yet, so I don't know whether to be happy that it didn't matter I was late, or to be happy that at least someone got there on time.

I wish I had more photographs, but I had to hurry on the way there, and was exhausted on the way back, so I documented only the hashpoint itself.

At least I officially achieved the bike hash.

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