Extreme Cyclocross: The Longest Run-up

September 21st, 2010 Alex Posted in Cycling, People | 2 Comments »

My friend Tobin Copley will be attempting something a little crazy tomorrow… and doing it for a good cause. Tobin posted an eloquent description on Facebook so I am reposting it here, with his permission:

Have you ever wondered about that 80 metre limit the UCI imposes on cyclocross run-ups? What would it be like to have a really long run-up–I mean a reeeaaallllly long run-up?

I’m going to need your help with something, though. More on that later, but park that thought for now.

I have a monumentally stupid idea. It’s not the first time, and it’s not going to be the last time. Remember how for the last two years I’ve ridden from Kelowna to Vancouver over the Coquihalla in a day, in order to raise money for cancer research? Well, I’m going to do that again, next year. But on Wednesday September 22nd, I’m going to ride from my house to the base of Grouse Mountain, then shoulder my bike and run the Grouse Grind. You heard that right. That’s a 2900 metre run-up with 853 meters of elevation gain. And I’m going to run it for time, using my Grind Timer chip. Then I’m going to ride down the back of the mountain via the back-side access road–over a thousand metres of steady braking on steep, rocky, wash-boarded gravel road. Then I’ll ride back home, shower, and go to work.
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1000km Brevet: Bella Coola (DNF)

June 30th, 2010 Alex Posted in Cycling | 4 Comments »

I started the Bella Coola 1000km Brevet at 6:00am Saturday. Due to the small number of riders, I had changed the route to start by Lougheed Mall and using the south side of the Fraser River between Pitt Meadows and Hope to make up the additional distance due to starting further east. This start location meant that Barb did not have as far to go to when driving me to the start and made it accessible for Gary Sparks who was using Skytrain to get there.

I had motels reserved, and food waiting, in Cache Creek (351km) and Tatla Lake (773km). My goal going into this was to minimize my night riding after Williams Lake, due to the remote nature of the highway, and the concern about Grizzly Bears that have been seen more frequently this year.

My wife, Barb, and the kids were driving up to Bella Coola to meet me. They were going to leave Sunday morning and stay overnight at Williams Lake before arriving in Bella Coola later on Monday. Gary Sparks was starting at 3:00pm – due to work commitments – and Doug and Susan were going to ride the route (starting at the original Vancouver start) as a tour, taking 6 days for their ride plus a few more to return home via ferry and Port Hardy.
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600km Brevet: Merritt Loop Counterclockwise

June 7th, 2010 Alex Posted in Cycling | Comments Off

The last time I did the Merritt Loop, the route specified a clockwise direction – eastbound via Hwy 1 through the Fraser Canyon and westbound via the Coquihalla Highway. This time we did the reverse which meant everyone was riding the Coquihalla during the middle of the day and the Fraser Canyon at night. This direction of the route seemed to be better for riding straight through so I started with the intention of not stopping for a sleep stop.

Rick was kind enough to do a long pull at the front along United Blvd. He explained that on this stretch of the 400km, he had a hard time avoiding the pot-holes when he was drafting in the group so he wanted to be on the front “just until the first hill”. I asked him if, by the first hill, he meant the Coquihalla but it turns out he meant the first little bump on the Mary Hill Bypass.

After leaving Rick behind, Keith Fraser and I rode together to the first control in Mission. He needed to spend an extra few minutes at that stop, so I left ahead of him at an easier pace. It wasn’t long before he caught up with me and we rode together as far as Deroche. Once we got onto the small rolling hills after Deroche, I was working harder to stay with Keith so I slowed my pace and let him get ahead.

After passing Agassiz, I stopped for a quick break at the rest stop on the left side of the highway. While I was there getting ready to ride again, the next group of riders on the road went by. I sprinted out of the rest stop and joined their group. I continued to ride with this group until shortly after Hope when we got split up a little bit as the hills started on Othello Rd, and then even more on the Coquihalla Hwy.
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400km Brevet: Beyond Hope (DNF)

May 24th, 2010 Alex Posted in Cycling | 4 Comments »

I have sometimes said that stories about a DNF on a brevet are often more interesting than stories about successful brevets. This one is probably the exception that disproves that comment.


The brevet was scheduled to start at 9:00pm Saturday evening so Barb dropped me off early at the start, and then drove off with my water bottles still in the van – I had to phone her to get her to return my bottles. Luckily, she was just around the corner making a quick stop at McDonald’s before heading home so I was still able to start on time.

The sun was just setting as we started. As often happens with longer brevets, the majority of participants started at an easy pace, allowing for a little bit of socializing. I talked briefly with Eric about Super Week 2010 and the high number of hits the new section of the BC Randonneurs web site was receiving: it looks like Super Week may be receiving quite a bit of interest.
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Ian Fillinger’s Race Across America to End MS

May 22nd, 2010 Alex Posted in Cycling, People | Comments Off

Ian Fillinger has been a BC Randonneur member since 2008, when he completed his first Super Randonneur series and the Rocky 1200. This year, he is tackling something a little bit bigger: he will be competing in Race Across America in order to raise money for MS research.

Ian’s wife Michelle is the reason he is facing this challenge: Michelle Fillinger was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eight years ago. His goal is to raise $250,000 towards MS research and beat MS.

In the video, Ian’s coach John Tilley says “He could be the first rookie to win RAAM”. The finish line that Ian and Michelle are looking for, though, isn’t in Annapolis at the end of RAAM – it is in the results of the MS research that Ian is raising money for.

You can visit Ian’s web site at http://www.raceacrossamerica.ca/ to get more information and make a donation to the MS Society.

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