Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Cynthia Lodgepole

When the protagonist of Heidi Jacob’s lovely, very funny, and deeply literary debut novel Molly of the Mall (the perfect gift for that English major in your life) mentions adopting the pseudonym "Cynthia Lodgepole" for publishing her “gothic bodice-rippers,” it’s a wink and a nudge to anyone who’s ever noticed this road sign on the Yellowhead Highway between Edmonton and Jasper.

The names of these two little hamlets 23 km apart in Brazeau County near Drayton Valley, Alberta, do kind of go together, and I’m sure I’m not the only one–besides Heidi Jacobs–who thinks, every time I see the highway sign, of what a great pseudonym this would make. Kudos to Heidi’s Molly for pulling it off.

Yet despite all the times I’ve driven past the sign, I’d never visited either place. Until last Saturday, that is, when I rode my bicycle through both on the route of the DV100, an annual century-ride (pavement) event that I took part in for the first time. This event has been around for 10 years and has a solid reputation in cycling circles in these parts: it’s known for being well organized and scenic, and for putting up a surprising amount of prize money.