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Frequently Asked Questions


Result Reporting:

Control Services and Facilities:

Conditions Along the Route:

Personal Support Vehicles:

Getting to Victoria:

Qualifying for the VanIsle 1200:
Entering the VanIsle 1200:
Refund Policy:
The VanIsle 1200 as a RAAM Qualifier:

The Answers:

Result Reporting:

Will my fans be able to watch my progress on the web?
No. Preliminary finishing times will be posted on the VanIsle 1200 website as soon as possible after the riders' control cards have been verified by the ride organizer.

Control Services and Facilities:

What are the sleeping facilities like?
Riders looking for a guaranteed sleep break should make their own advance reservation at a nearby motel. Make hotel reservations EARLY!
At the 605k/817k control in the village of Woss. There is only the one motel (5 suites) and even it may not be available. Woss is a small logging camp.
It is STRONGLY recommended that riders make their own private motel sleeping arrangements along the way once the route sheet is posted. (Advance reservations are highly recommended). Please go to the following British Columbia Approved Accommodation Guide for Vancouver Island at the following website:

Will showers be available at all controls?
No. Only at rooms reserved by each rider.

Do I need to provide my own toiletries, etc. for use at the drop-bag control?
Yes. You should include them in your drop bag.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag or will bedding be provided at the controls?
All motels have the usual bedding and supplies available.

I want to make motel/hotel reservations along the route for sleep breaks. Can you provide me with this information.
As mentioned above, go to the following British Columbia travel website which lists approved accommodation on Vancouver Island: hellobc.com

How does the drop bag system work?
We will transport a drop bag for each rider to the staffed Campbell River control, (accessible the three times each rider passes through this control), and a bag to the Gold River control. Bags will be returned to the finish in Victoria by 12:00 hours (noon) on Thursday 17-July.
Drop-bags are to be brought to the bike check-in on Sunday 13-July between 13:00 and 16:00. Drop bags must have a large travel tag with the rider's name and address attached to it. If sending a bag to Gold River, be sure to mark this clearly on the bag, otherwise it will go to Campbell River. Please restrict your drop bags to a reasonable size and weight as we have a limited cargo volume in the vans; and ordinary folks will be lifting the bags into and out of the van several times. Please use a soft covered sports bag if possible. Garbage bags and the like will not be transported.
Recommended maximum size and weight are 10" x 10" x 20" (250 mm x 250 mm x 500 mm) and 15lb (7 kg).

What types of food will be available at the controls?
Each rider needs to be self-sufficient. During day-light hours food can be purchased at fast food/or other stores along the way. At the Campbell River control there is a 24 hour convenience store next to the control. There is a deli open in Gold River until about 10:00 pm. North of Campbell River, about ˝ way to Sayward, there is a store near a highway rest stop that closes about 18:00. At Sayward, the convenience store control is open until 10 pm. At Woss, a service station/small grocery store is usually open until 20:00. The control at Port Hardy is a 24/7 Shell Service Station. The Port Hardy Inn is across the street from the Shell Service Station for those needing sleep.
At the Campbell River drop-bag control, water, Gatorade powder & Gatorade pre-mixed drink, cookies and bananas will be available.

Will vegetarian foods be available at the controls?
See the preceding question. Fast food and small grocery stores along the way usually have food that will meet vegetarian requirements.

Will the controls have a supply of power bars, gels, and Gatorade available?
Gatorade powder and Gatorade pre-mixed drink will be available at the Campbell River drop-bag control. Gatorade will also be available at Gold River and Woss controls. The controls will not have Power Bars or gels. If you wish these, consider putting some in your drop bag, carrying them with you or purchasing them along the way. Note: Washrooms will be available at the start, but there will be no drinks or food available, other than fast food at Tim Horton's Café.

Will mechanical support be available at the controls?
No professional mechanical support will be available at the controls. Some towns along the way have bike shops (Sidney, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtenay, Campbell River, Port McNeill) but these shops will only be open regular hours (approximately 09:00 to 17:00 each day. There will probably be a few tools and a floor pump at the Campbell River drop-bag control. Make sure your bike is in excellent working order before you start the ride. It is advisable to replace any doubtful parts of your bike before traveling to the VanIsle 1200. Also, bring some basic repair tools /replacement cables, etc. with you.

Will I be able to purchase tubes, batteries and other supplies at the controls?
Riders are expected to bring their own spare batteries, light bulbs/LED lights, tubes and tires. There are bikes stores in the larger centres along the way (Sidney, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtenay, Campbell River and Port McNeill.)

Conditions along the Route:

How do I survive riding through the northern Vancouver Island Wilderness?
You should be aware of at least the following:
Weather: In early July, the temperatures are generally moderate, ranging from 20 C (68 F ) to 29 C (84 F) mid-day; to 6 C (42 F) to 10 C (50 F) at night. Rain can be expected somewhere along the route, usually in the hills between Campbell River and Port Hardy. Rain can range from a light drizzle to a heavy, steady downpour. Bring your winter clothing for night time riding on the north end of the Island.
Terrain: Approximately 9100 metres (30,000 feet) of total elevation gain. The route is undulating … that means there are few flat stretches, particularly north of Campbell River! There are only 3 significant climbs in each direction. Heading North out of Victoria, the rider climbs the scenic Malahat which rises approximately 300 metres (1100 feet) over about 10k (6 miles), the steepest grade is about 7%. The other two significant climbs are over the hump between Campbell River and Sayward (about 10k (6 miles) at about 5%; and, finally, the 7-8% climb for about 3k (2 miles) out of Sayward, heading for Woss. Bring your camera as there are frequent scenic seaside views between Victoria and Campbell River.
Empty: Much of the region you are riding through north and west of Campbell River is very sparsely inhabited west coast rain forest. Once you leave Campbell River, stores/shops are very far between. See your route sheet. Yes that's all of them. Many more facilities are available on the first and last 250k sections of the route (Victoria to Campbell River).
Water: Only drink water obtained from commercial outlets or at the manned controls. You will find streams near the road along the route. Please be advised that these streams probably contain giardia, a stomach parasite. We recommend that you obtain water at control sites, from known safe sources, or filter your water. For more information see BC Health Files
Wildlife: North of Campbell River, expect to see bears along the route, particularly in the early morning and evening. Do Not Feed Or Get Close to the Bears. Anywhere along the route, including urban areas, riders may see deer, usually in the early morning or evening. Ride cautiously around deer as they are inclined to be erratic when moving, and can leap unexpectedly into the cyclist's path. Severe injuries to the rider can ensue. Cougars (mountain lions) also travel the woods in both the urban and wilderness areas of Vancouver Island. It is unlikely a rider will see one and attacks on humans are rare, but attacks have occurred on Vancouver Island.  We strongly advise that you avoid sleeping on the side of the road.

Will food and water be available along the route in addition to at the controls?
The route takes you through fairly remote country in the middle 600-700K of the route. There are some services along the way (see your route sheet) we strongly recommend that you stock up on food and water at Campbell River on the way north and at Port Hardy (turnaround) on the way south.

What type of weather can I expect to encounter on the route?
In early July, the temperatures are generally moderate, ranging from 20 C (68 F ) to 29 C (84 F) mid-day; to 6 C (42 F) to 10 C (50 F) at night. Rain can be expected somewhere along the route, usually in the hills between Campbell River and Port Hardy. Rain can range from a light drizzle to a heavy, steady downpour. Bring your winter clothing for night time riding on the north end of the Island.

Will there be vehicular support along the route?
In the spirit of randonneuring, each cyclist is expected to be self-sufficient. There will not be an official VanIsle 1200 vehicle on the route. VanIsle 1200 volunteers who might be on the course are not to help riders outside of the controls (for the sake of fairness).  Riders may have their own support vehicle/team meet tham at any of the controls.

If I abandon the ride how will I be able to get back to Victoria?
As there is no official follow-vehicle, the rider will need to rely on the generosity of passing vehicles to get to the nearest village.

Will we be advised of any road construction along the route?
We will be checking with the relevant highway departments and will endeavour to include information on road construction on the route sheet, at registration at Victoria and/or at the Campbell River bag-drop control before the rider encounters the road construction.

What is a rumble strip and how do I ride with them on the road?
Rumble strips are deep dimples cut into the shoulder just outside the white line. They are there to alert motorized vehicle drivers who are veering off the road. They, unfortunately, can be hard to see in the dark and especially in the rain. As a cyclist, If you hit them, it is important not to panic, but to surely and carefully steer off them again. They will rattle you and your bike awfully but you can keep control. Rumble strips are particularly dangerous when encountered by cyclists on fast down-hill portions of the course.. Riders should always ride cautiously when rumble strips are evident.


Will I be able to purchase a souvenir t-shirt for myself or my support crew?

Will there be an official photographer along the route and how can I obtain copies of any photographs taken during the ride?

Personal Support Vehicles:

Are support vehicles allowed on the route?
Yes, personal support vehicles are allowed although you may not receive support except at the designated controls. You must inform us that you will have a support vehicle, the name of your support people and the license plate number of the vehicle. We will have a card to identify your vehicle as belonging to rider available at registration.

Will my support crew be able to attend the post-ride meal?
Yes. We are currently planning on a  brunch-breakfast at 10:00 hours, Friday, 18-July. This will serve as opportunities for VanIsle 1200 riders and support crew to meet/greet each other, share randonneuring experiences and receive their VanIsle 1200 awards.  Please indicate if you are planning to have guests as you/they will be required to pay for their meal.

Getting to Victoria:

How do I get to Victoria?
You can get to Victoria by car, plane, bus, ferry or bike.

Ferry websites are as follows:

Bus Service website is

Air Service to Victoria

Will I be able to obtain transportation for myself and/or my bike from Vancouver to Victoria and return?
Each rider is responsible for getting his/her self and bike to and from Victoria.

Can you give me the name of a hotel/motel near the start of ride where I can stay before and after the ride?
Please see host hotel information.
Please refer to the British Columbia Accommodation Guide for Vancouver Island via the website:

Qualifying for the VanIsle 1200:

How do I qualify to ride the VanIsle?
You must have successfully completed an Audax Club Parisien (ACP) sanctioned brevets of the following distances:
- a 1000k brevet or a 1200k randonnee in the past 3 years (2012, 2013 or 2014)
- or have completed the full 200, 300, 400, and 600k brevet series in either 2013 or 2014.
You will be required to provide the location, date, and your official completion time for the qualifying brevets on your entry form.

NOTE: There will be no exceptions to the qualification requirements.

I haven't ridden a brevet series since before 2012 or I've never ridden one. Can I qualify for the VanIsle this year?
Yes, but you must provide documentation of successful completion of 200, 300, 400, and 600 km brevets in 2013 or 2014 by 15-June-2014.

Entering the VanIsle 1200:

How do I register to ride the VanIsle?
On or after December 1st, 2013, email the ride organizer that  you intend to participate in the 2014 VanIsle 1200.  Once you receive a confirmation reply that you are on the list you then have two weeks to complete the following:

  1. To be on the wait list, please complete the 2014 VanIsle 1200 entry form listing the required qualifications.  
  2. Email your 2014 VanIsle 1200 entry to the organizer.  
  3. We expect an attrition rate of about 25% between now and the event.  You will be notified by email when there is an opening.  Pay particular attention towards the end of April 2014 and the end of May 2014 (see refund policy below).
  4. When you are notified there is an opening you will be required to mail your Canadian dollar cheque, money order or bank draft inserting the British Columbia Randonneur Cycling Club as payee, a hard copy of the entry,  the BC Randonneurs membership form, BC Randonneurs General waiver form and  Event waiver form  (both on the BC Randonneurs forms page) to the organizer's address on the entry form.

How do I know that my entry has been received?

The ride organizer will respond directly to your emails.  Names, countries, and club affiliations of riders from whom entries (payments, entry, membership and waiver forms) are received will be posted on the entry list page.

Is there a limit on the number of riders who will be allowed to start the event?
Yes. The VanIsle 1200 event will be limited to 50 riders. As an event with minimal support we want to approach the ride conservatively. If you are looking for a 1200k ride with more impressive support and more riders, then check out the Cascade 1200, or wait for the next Rocky Mountain 1200.

How will the 50 rider limit be imposed?
Entry, waiver, membership and payment will be accepted on a first-come-first-confirmed basis, with those riders who already qualify receiving confirmation priority over those entrants who have yet to qualify.
The rider entry list and waiting list (if necessary) will be posted on the
entry list page by 31-May-2014. Cheques, bank drafts and money orders (bank or postal) in Canadian dollars for entry fees will be processed as they are received. (Note: Those riders who have paid their entry fees and are on the waiting list; and, are not able to be accepted for the ride because the rider limit has been reached will receive their full entry fee back.)

Refund Policy:

What is the refund policy if I enter the event but can't participate for some reason?
- You can withdraw before 1-May-2014 and receive a 100% refund in the currency paid. 
- From 2-May-2014 to1-June-2014 you can withdraw and receive a 50% refund
in the currency paid.
- After 2-June-2014 no refunds will be provided.

The VanIsle 1200 as a RAAM Qualifier:

Can I ride the 3rd VanIsle 1200 as a RAAM Qualifier?
This question should be directed to RAAM .
Please keep in mind that the VanIsle 1200 is a 1200 km brevet in the spirit of Paris-Brest-Paris, not a race.


Can I ride the VanIsle as a 1000 km brevet to count toward my ACP Randonneur 5000 award?
No. The VanIsle 1200 is a Randonneur Mondiaux sanctioned 1200 km brevet. There is no 1000 km option. The BC Randonneurs have scheduled a number of ACP sanctioned 1000 km brevets for 2014. Please see the BC Randonneur Cycling Club events calendar for dates and locations.

Does the 1200 km I ride on the VanIsle count toward the total distance for my ACP Randonneur 5000 award?
Our advice - if you want to claim the kilometres, please try to get confirmation from the ACP that they will recognize them.

I have a question that's not answered in this FAQ. What should I do?
If your question is not answered here or elsewhere on the event web site you can send email to the VanIsle 1200 ride organizer Steve Mahovlic. We will answer your question as promptly as we can. We may also add an edited version of your question and the answer to this FAQ to help other people.
I sent you an email over 7 days ago and you haven't answered. Why?
We're not deliberately ignoring you - honest! The most likely explanation is that your email accidentally got caught in our spam filter. We receive about 100 spam messages for every "real" one. Our filter is good, but sometimes it makes mistakes. Please re-send your email and, especially if it is brief, add a few technical cycling or randonneuring words.

FAQ last updated: October 2013_