Newsletter - 2000 Archive

BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo

BC Randonneurs
Cycling Club
BC Randonneurs logo BC Randonneurs logo


Busy in the Rockies

Harold Bridge


I've been back from Kamloops a week now & I'm still messing about with stuff related to the event.

The last control before returning to Kamloops was at Vernon Youth Hostel. When the goings on were explained to the the Warden, she asked for a map describing what all these strange, tired looking cyclists were doing. The map became a big job when I decided to add control info as well as the profile showing the contours. Mailed it to Vernon addressed to a friend who would deliver. That was on Friday July 21. Monday morning, 24th, there's knock on the door. The tube with my map in it was delived to me! Big bold type for the recipient & skinny little "FROM" address didn't matter, I had put my address underneath! Lucky at the post office, there was a concerned postman who took it from me saying it would be in Vernon on Tuesday. It was.

Wed 26 - 07:00. Danelle, organiser & Karen, one of the riders, pick up 2 15 passenger vans from National on West Broadway. Go back to Danelle's near the Planetarium take out all but one of the benches. Load up with food, blankets, microwave ovens etc in one van & go up to Ted's in Coquitlam to pick up more food. He had only ordered it, off to Safeway to load up.

11:30: Eventually arrive at my place. Load up my microwave, cameras & clothing. Danelle & Karen get in the van that would be the lead vehicle & I get in the empty, sweep van. Stop in Maple Ridge to pick up MAC, a non-cyclist who enjoys being involved in this event.

17:00: Bike check & registration at Heritage House, Riverside Park, Kamloops. 40 riders entered. 39 registered, Bob Bose has returned to Surrey politics & isn't doing the required training. Apart from the 10 BC riders there were 1 Albertan, 3 Saskatchewan riders, 3 from Manitoba, 17 Americans from Seattle, Portland, Missouri, Wisconsin, Boston & Minnesota, 2 Germans, one Dane, the youngest at 31, one Aussie, & 2 Brits, including the oldest rider, Jack Eason, 75 (or will be later in August).

18:00-21:00 Loading lead vehicle with riders' drop off bags. Danelle had Majbrit Kunnigas, the Danish rider's girl-friend, with her, the only rider's support person who volunteered to help in the event. Danelle was also supposed to take MAC to his post at Tete Jaune Cache (TJC), the 338 km control. But there was no room. Danelle had to get to Clearwater ahead of the riders for the 122 km control before pressing on to drop off stuff at the other controls.

Thursday 04:00: I start the 84 hour scheduled riders after a night on a sofa in Heritage House where I managed about 30 minutes sleep. Stop & fill up with gas, $47.00, & dash off to Clearwater to check in the riders. As anticipated the first 3 riders arrived at 07:38, 12 minutes before the control opened. It just meant they got their food plusses & minusses seen to before I signed their cards & they were away right on 06:00: I arrive at Clearwater with MAC who transfers to Bob Marsh's truck to be taken to TJC by the opening at 09:30. Bob's Sister-in-law runs the Sandman Inn at Blue River & Pat Marsh was there looking after the control.

07:50: We have always used the Petro Canada gas staion as the control. But this time it wasn't open so water & toilet were not available. 09:00: The last rider arrives. He had punctured a little way down the road & was equipped with one of those stupid little mini-pumps & was unable to seriously inflate his tyre. He had hoped to use the gas staion air or my floor pump. But I always forget one thing. This time it was my floor pump! He finished up going about 3 km into Clearwater itself to find a gas staion & lost about 40 minutes as a result. Despite the fact the station was obviously closed drivers kept on coming in expecting service. It was just before I left at 09:30 I realised the problem. I was wearing my BC Randonneurs jacket which is black with red & white maple leaves all over it! The official closing time for the control was 11:40. But with all riders through I went for breakfast.

12:30: Arrive at Blue River. Tool box came out for Manfred who wanted to adjust the slop out of his bottom bracket. Went for lunch with Bob Marsh across at the Husky.

14:30: Leave Blue River. Stop for a doze somewhere up the road & continue to monitor the last riders on the road.

15:30: Pop into Valmount to buy a belt, losing weight!

16:10; Arrive at the Tete Jaune Motel. MAC had everthing under control but I took over while he went to the restaurant. Later we had dinner with Ian, a BC rider who turned back enroute to Jasper. He had been working too much & not training.

21:30: Went to bed

Friday 28th,07:00: Woke up - Late. Packed the van & headed to Jasper. 09:50: Got to the Palisades control 15 kms east of Jasper. Understaffed with just Tom & Janice Hocking. An accident in the previous week's 300 had left the Icefield Centre's contoller with a broken Collar Bone & I had to move Chris & Arnie there from Palisades.

10:15: Head toward Jasper. But decided to stay on route & get breakfast at Sunwapta Lodge instead of Jasper.

11:30 (12:30 local time): Had lunch instead of breafast & headed down the Icefields Parkway in showery weather. MAC asked how we were off for gas! AAARGH! Close to empty. Not a good road to run out of gas on. I decided not to stop at Icefields, but press on non-stop to Saskatchewan River Crossing where there is a gas station. Didn't fill up, just $45 worth at 88.9 cents a litre!

14:15: Back to Icefields where the last riders were about to leave in cold wet conditions. They were in plenty of time as the control wasn't due to close until 15:40.

An added chore this time round was removing the reflective signs Danelle had put up to help people find their way into controls. It was a cold wet walk I had around the Icefields Centre finding them. It also meant we couldn't get too far ahead of the last riders as the signs couldn't come down before they had passed.

By this time Danelle's load was about half gone & we had accumulated it. 19:00: Arrive at Lake Louise. Bob Boonstra was there & he took us to the Youth Hostel for dinner. Good. As sweep it is part of my job to pick up riders in need of a ride. We had got to Lake Louise too soon. Up on Bow Summit Cheryl Lynch had decided her achilles tendon was too painful to continue. Fortunately, the Hindes were on that stretch of road at that time & were able to bring her into the control. Her parents were on hand complete with "Toro", Cheryl's ferocious lamb dog & from then on Cheryl became part of the help when she took over from the Pater & Mjbrit at Revelstoke control so they could get to see their riders finish at Kamloops..

However, despite the theory about picking up riders, with the amount of stuff being carried it is very iffy whether or not both body & bicycle could have got in the van.

Saturday 29th - 00:00: Arrived at the Golden control. Frances & her son were supposed to be there but son went fishing instead. Michel Richard, who had planned to ride the event went with her instead. Michel had ridden the Millenium Project 2000 at the end of June. The 9 riders went from Abbotsford to Vanderhoof & back at a daily average of about 300 kms Michel crashed with some 500 km to go. But despite a broken arm & ribs he finished!

I forget why but we drove that road over Kicking Horse Pass twice, both times in the dark. We needed to get something to Golden but had to go back for the signs. We arrived at Golden at midnight the second time & had some sleep at Lake Louise in between.

Sat 29th - 16:20: Arrived at Revelstoke. We had been going up & down at fairly high elevations in varying degrees of cold & wet. We were tired, & had been travelling in an air conditioned vehicle. We climbed out at Revelstoke into 30 deg C weather. It his us like a blast furnace. It is no wonder MAC collapsed on the bed with a throbbing headache. Some sleep & a meal at Denny's & he was okay.

23:00: Left for Salmon Arm.

Sunday 30th -04:35: Arrived at control closing time. We cleared our stuff out of the rec centre & were ready to drive to Vernon. But it seemed a waste to take the big van to Vernon when many of the riders who had already finished would be waiting for their bags. I suggested that MAC take Doug in the big van directly to Kamloops while Real & I went to Vernon. We were surprised to find a rider way out the back behind those we thought were last on the road. Brian, from Boston, had taken a motel room after leaving the control & seemed in very good shape. We found the hostel, loaded up the stuff in Real's truck; 7 went for breakfast. Retraced to remove signs after Brian had passed by & finally got going on Highway 97 for Monte Creek & Highway 1 into Kamloops. With the good weather & the prospect of the finish being so close everyone was in good humour & looking good.

A nice touch was that the 4 tailenders from the 84 hour group had caught 75 year old Jack Eason along this stretch & they decided to escort him to the finish.

At Heritage House Lyle Beaulac had done a Trojan job from Midnight Saturday until Brian from Boston finished at 14:55 for a time of 88:55. Victoria's Ken Bonner, 57, was anxious to catch a Sunday night ferry & was unable this time to stop for the wrap up party. But as he finished Saturday @ 11:36 for a time of 55:36 he had had a good sleep before coming down to Heritage House to congratulate & be congratulated. Without a new Calgary-Vancouver record of 40:01 in his legs but 2 weeks before, he might have got inside 50 hours!

Four of us shared a motel Sunday night, MAC & I were joined by Young Doug, who had his own mattress & sleeping bag, & Jack Eason. I know MAC & Jack snore & they claim I was champion. Doug must have had nightmares about the Three Tenors gone bad!

A group breakfast at White Spot the following morning was a happy affair. Nobo was taking Andy Wimmer, one of the German riders, back to Vancouver in his Volkswagen van. That must have added to the sense of adventure Andy claimed he got from the event! Jack came back with us. I thought to stay with me. But when he found out how far out of town I lived he went to Cheryl's as he wanted to see Vancouver before flying back Tuesday night. Within 2 weeks Jack will be back this side of the pond; He's riding Boston-Montreal-Boston for the fourth time!

Another stop at Merritt for gas & Dairy Queen was the final split of the party. Quite an enjoyable, if tiring, few days.