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Rocky Mountain 1200


Harold submitted this to the "Kamloops Daily Press"

The Efficiency of "CYCLING"
by Harold Bridge

Over the past several years we have become accustomed to the "What's On" channel displaying "CYCLING" through most of July, on OLN. The green background told us it was "sport". We also know they mean what can be described as the World's biggest athletic endeavour; "The Tour de France".

It is perhaps too big for many of the participants, thus the drug scandals that have almost killed the event over the past 10 or 12 years. In its defence, cycle sport was one of the first NOT to sweep their drug problems under the carpet, even though the commercial interests were less concerned.

But the name; "CYCLING" in itself has such a broad connotation as to be virtually meaningless. It could well be a program about how to carry a week's groceries home on a bicycle. Or it could be advice on how to prepare for a cycle tour through the Rockies.

The bicycle has been described as mankind's most efficient means of mobility. I was involved recently in an event that demonstrates that efficiency.

Not a race, but more than a tour; the 7th edition of the "Rocky Mountain 1200" in July attracted 102 riders. 47 Canadians, 43 Americans, 5 Japanese, 2 Australians, 2 Germans, 1 Brazilian,1 French, and 1 British rider.

About 75% of them chose to use the 90 hour schedule by starting from Kamloops Wednesday July 23 at 22:00, while the remainder started 6 hours later, on Thursday at 04:00. They all had to be finished back at Kamloops by Sunday 27th at 16:00. The event also required the services of about 75 volunteers.

An intensive bike inspection beforehand ensured each machine was "Up to the Job" with especial scrutiny of the brakes, tyres and lighting systems.

The riders have to report in at the controls between certain times based upon maximum & minimum speeds. The controls were at: Clearwater, Blue River, Valemount, Jasper, (at 443 kms the first sleep control for those so inclined), Beauty Creek Hostel on the Icefields' Parkway, Lake Louise, Storm Mountain, Golden, Revelstoke, Enderby, and Salmon Arm.

The first finisher (everyone who finishes inside the time limits is a winner),
Victoria's Ken Bonner, 65, finished at 06:34 Saturday morning for a time of 50:34. The French rider, Sophie Matter, got round in 64:44 to set a new best time for female riders of which there were 14.

The British attitude to these sorts of events is to get their monies worth & the solitary entrant from UK, Pat Hurt, lived up to that tradition. He finished at 15:02 on the Sunday for a time of 89:02 despite his name and the fact he was one of about 4 riders who were on single geared bikes. He was completely unflustered and coherent at the finish.

Sixteen riders failed to finish.

The "Wrap Up" party demonstrated cycling efficiency in that the riders were mostly bright eyed, while those who had served long hours staffing controls looked quite tired!

(for more information: www.randonneurs.bc.ca )
Harold Bridge
22-3046, Coast Meridian Road,
Port Coquitlam.