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2012 Season Review
Even without the storm the Rocky Mountain 1200 would have been a central story for us in 2012. It's our one big party, and we invite the world. In 2012 we welcomed 13 riders from western Europe, 7 from Japan, 2 from Brazil, 40 from the US, and 22 from elsewhere in Canada.
Often the battle on this course is with oppressive mid-summer heat, but this year the enemy was the extreme rain and cold in the first 24 hours. The conditions crushed the field. The attrition rate overall was 44 %. The rate increases to 50% for the 10 p.m. start group (the 90 hour group) who were hit hardest.
Finishing times for Rocky were generally slow... except for Nigel Press who had an exceptional ride despite the conditions. His 52:52 is the 4th fastest time in the history of the event and was 10 hours quicker than the next riders on the road. Bookending the field was event co-organizer Ali Holt. As Roger Holt put it at the wrap party "Ali was riding sweep". And then there's Ron. Ron Himschoot has ridden in every Rocky Mountain 1200, and has now finished seven of them. If you're feeling bad about your own DNF this time, keep in mind that even Rocky Ron doesn't always finish. That's right, he DNFed on this ride in 1997.
The other headline story this season was the number of first-time Super Randonneurs who were women. In a sport that struggles to improve on a 6 % woman's Paris Brest Paris participation rate, it's a big deal when four of the eight first-time Super Randonneurs are women. (SR medals are awarded to riders who complete a 200, 300, 400, 600 km series in a single season.) BC women have typically had better numbers than elsewhere, but I had assumed that four first-time SRs was unprecedented. This turns out not to be the case. In 1987 there were also four BC women who were first-time SRs, and in 2003 there were six. Both were PBP years.
Still, moments like these are always something to celebrate. So congratulations to Brynne Croy, Shawn Wenger, Sylvia Lee and Kristy Lee Mighton. Brynne had been moving towards this for several years; Shawn too, and she also needed qualify for Rocky; Sylvia had spent a couple years as a 200 km specialist before the jump to SR; and Kristy Lee... well, she came out of nowhere.
The two biggest distance rookies were not women however. John Oswald earns the title "Rookie of the Year" (no award, just bragging rights) with 3700 km, including the Cascade 1200, and not too far behind was Tobin Henderson with 2943 km. Rounding out the field was Maciej Szarecki and Jamie Guzman. Congratulations to all eight first-time super randonneurs.
In all there were 46 Super Randonneurs this season, which is the highest total ever for the PBP hangover year (year following Paris Brest Paris). The SR is medal awarded by Audax Club Parisien, our sport's governing body. The other major ACP award is the Randonneur 5000 medal - a 5000 km total ridden in a mix of distances over four years. This year two more riders joined the current Randonneur 5000 list. Philip Lennox and Jim Runkel only needed the flèche distance component and they both got this in May. Now there are 21 R-5000s earned by BC riders using PBP 2011 (PBP is the one mandatory component), which is a club historical high. There were 35 BC finishers at PBP 2011. It is possible for there to be an additional 14 BC R-5000s before 2015.
Now let's take a look at our home grown awards, and distinctions.
The John Hathaway Memorial Trophy (aka the Iron Butt Award) goes to Ken Bonner for the 10th time in 11 years, as he celebrates his 70th birthday. His winning event distance total was 12,600 km. The more informal runner up designation, called the "all butt" award (i.e. the "all but Ken" award) is claimed by Barry Chase (9,500 km) on the year he celebrates his 60th birthday. Barry is the only person in the past 11 years to win the Iron Butt award instead of Ken.
It should be noted that the iron butt totals only include ACP and RM (Randonneurs Mondiaux) event distances - permanents don't count. Our designation for the rider with the most permanent distance, the "PermaButt" award, also goes Ken in 2012. He has earned this distinction in all five years since the permanents program was established in 2008, and his 2012 total of 9494 is his second highest year.
With an event distance total of 5171 Ali Holt is this year's Iron Buttress. This is the second time that Ali has had the highest women's total. The other year was in 2004 when her tally was 3900 km. This is Ali's biggest season, and first time over 5000 km.
Don't sit down Ali, you get the next one too... The Randonneur 40,000 medal is awarded to BC riders in the year their life-time (ACP / RM) event distance total reaches 40,000 km. This happened for three riders in 2012. Congratulations to Bob Koen, Roger Holt and Ali Holt. (40,000 km is the magic number because it is the approximate circumference of the earth.)
The overall club numbers took some interesting turns in 2012. The total distance figure of 297,765 was technically the highest in our history. But this figure includes Rocky Mountain 1200 completions by the many riders who joined us from around the world. If you skim off the Rocky distance from the out-of-province riders, we weighed in at 242,565 km which is the biggest collapse in general participation since the last PBP hangover year, 2008. (Maybe not really so unexpected.)
As for brevet distance distribution, 2012 might be thought of as our biggest little-distance year. I was surprised to see that our 200 km brevet total was 332, which is by far our biggest annual total ever for this distance. On a related note their were 38 "New Randonneurs" (first-time 200 finishers) which is considerably up from 26 in 2011, and only 2 less that the 40 new randonneurs in our biggest ever distance year, 2010. As for 1000s, I think the frenzy (in part inspired by the new PBP qualifying system introduced in 2010) may have run its course. There were only 13 x 1000 km brevets this year compared with the 48 in 2010.
The permanents numbers were down a little also this year about equal in proportion to the general brevet participation numbers. The program total was 36,316 km which is down about 4000 km from last year. Only 8 riders were over 1000 km for the year, and only 10 riders earned the BC-12 pin for year round brevet participation. New permanent routes continue to be introduced and we have recently christened Permanent Brevet Route #100.
18 BC riders participated in the Cascade 1200 hosted by SIR (Seattle International Randonneurs), and all but two finished. The riders traveling furthest for an ultra distance brevet were Gary Baker and club president Jeff Mudrakoff. They both completed the inaugural Korea 1200. Both interior 600 km brevets faced extreme conditions this year. Winds in the spring, and heat on the July makeup 600 saw abandon numbers unseen ever before at interior brevets. The biggest event that didn't happen this season was the Canada Day Populaire which was cancelled over flood concerns. The first CanPop cancellation in the event's history. This was the 13th year...
Volunteers & Organizers:
Many thanks to out-going randonneur committee members Susan Allen, Malcolm McAuley and Lee Ringham for their many efforts. Susan is responsible for introducing the "new randonneur" designation and she will continue to maintain those web pages. Lee Ringham has handled the critical Vancouver Island brevet coordinator portfolio for the past 2 1/2 seasons.
Special mention to our A-Team ride organizers Roger and Ali Holt. Rocky Mountain 1200 is always an imposing organizational challenge, and we have been lucky to have had two of the very best at the helm for the past two editions. Their team of volunteers needed to make the extra effort this time around because of the severe conditions, and came through brilliantly when we needed them. I hesitate to single out any one volunteer but, wow those were some great photos taken by our roaming official Rocky 12 photographer Stephen Hinde.
The final word goes to Ryan Goldbeck who was presented the Roger Street Award at the spring social in March for exceptional club service. Ryan was given the award for his work in 2011 on the club's on-line database. It's now fully functional and great fun to explore. Ryan is also our in-coming club president.