Newsletter - 2003 Archive

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Fleche Pacifique - 2003 (May 16-18)

Harold Bridge


Despite the limitations imposed by my computer, despite my fading memory and despite the weather we had a successful event that almost all involved seemed to enjoy. The few exceptions were victims of fate. Eleven teams entered from a total of 50 riders. Everything from 600+ km down to almost the bare 360 were scheduled.

Gordon Cook, not feeling at his best, decided not to ride but a relatively new rider, 71 year old David Gillanders, agreed to take his place on Manfred's "Retro Ridres". Manfred liked that change; it upped the team's average age and was a step further into the realm of "Most Mature" trophy collection. Thursday night a phone call from Stephen Hinde eliminated Don Munro from the "Harrison Hopefools". A smoking "Friend" had failed to stub out her butt completely when on the sundeck. Don's dog woke him up at 02:00 Thursday morning and he was able to save his house with some scorched fingers.

The Teams in Order of Start:

Axles of Evil
They were the first team to start. Bonner, Fraser, Fergusson, Richard and Berkenbos left Harrison at 17:00 Friday evening with a 611 km trail in front of them. By 21:00 they were passing through Mission and had the first 100+ km behind them as they headed east from Haney to Hope. After the Hope control things took a turn for the worst. Henry Berkenbos was fortunately at the back a little off the pace line when rumble strips on the entrance to Hwy #1 startled him and caused him to crash, breaking his collar bone. That cost the team about 90 minutes (good job it wasn't more than 2 hours, I might have had to disqualify them!?) and a team member.
They plugged on and endured, along with most other riders a wet, cold, miserable night and finished just short of Bridal Veil Falls with 529 km, well clear of the opposition and worthy of the Gordon Bisaro Memorial Trophy. As far as I remember that is the first broken collarbone since Norm Brodie's in the very first Fleche Pacifique in 1989. A big lump of truck retread on I-5 south of Bellingham caused that one.

Spinin' All Nite
The high hopes American team captained by Ken Carter chose a bad start in view of the weather. Top of Cayuse Pass (RAMROD riders know that all too well), was cold and it was snowing at 18:00, their start time! By Snoqualmie Falls (about 180 km) they were all too cold to continue.

Sins of the Fleche
Also starting at 18:00, but from Redmond was Peter McKay's team. They seemed in good spirits when intercepted in Fairhaven and were conservative enough they were able to complete their full 381 km.

Pasty White Guys
With Ron Himschoot in charge they were only 3 in number but completed the second greatest distance, 408 km from Seattle to Harrison between 19:00 Friday and 19:00 Saturday.

Fleche Pedallers
The Holt's left Harrison at 19:00 and had plans to sleep at their Ladner home and to leave at 07:00. A phone call at about 06:30 found they had been there about 15 minutes and were busily putting all their clothes thru the dryer! Roger claimed it was the worst night ride he had ever experienced. But they ambition was only to qualify with just 6.5 km over the minimum 360 km.

Harrison Hopefools
Without Don Munro Stephen Hinde's team was down to a bare bones threesome. They originally planned to start at 20:00 but requested an hour earlier. But as that would had them clashing with Fleche Pedallers I gave them 19:15 instead and from what I saw on Seabird Island their speeds were sufficiently similar they remained separated. They, like almost all the teams, completed what they set out to do, 404.5 km.

South Sound Sojourners
New to us, this Olympia team set out from Washington's State Capital at 20:00 Friday evening and enjoyed the lee of the Olympic Mountains for a dry ride. Waiting for the Ferry at Port Townsend gave them time for a 30 minute cat nap. When intercepted during our lunch at the Rhododendron Café at Bow Junction, on the flat part of Chuckanut, they were in high spirits and very smug about their dry ride! They too completed their aim of 379 km. With one team member over 55 and another under 35 this team was a shoe-in for the Heart and Lung trophy.

Prime Movers
With all the Saturday evening teams finishing by 20:00 hours and the last 3 expected at 07:00 or 08:00 Sunday morning it only took this one team to destroy a night's sleep! Doug Latornell's team started and finished at Harrison. Their 24 hours started at 03:00 Saturday although they didn't leave until just before 05:00. But they still finished at 03:00 Sunday morning with their intended 378.1 km completed.

Lunatic Fringe
The Treasurer's (Wayne Harrington) team chose to start at Port Coquitlam at 07:00 Saturday in 4°C conditions! Their aim was to ride to Marblemount and back to Harrison for their 379.2 km. They made it despite the weather.

Now he is 50 Duane Wright is a member of the American Association of Retired Persons, in case you wondered where the name comes from. They started from Enumclaw at 07:00 Saturday morning and were in good spirits when they arrived at Harrison - Coherent and standing after 365.1 km!

Retro Riders
Manfred Kuchenmuller's team of olduns walked away with the "Most Mature" trophy with an average of 62.8 yr x 400 km = 25,120 km yr. They started from Guildford at 08:00 and finished comfortably with about 30 minutes to spare after trekking down to Oak Harbor.