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by Harold Bridge

In 1976, as a result of the late John Hathaway riding the Audax Paris-Brest during his ride round the world map, there was interest shown in preparing to ride PBP in 1979.
Gerry Pareja said their effort was organized out of his saddlebag.
Nonetheless, the 4 VBC members, Dan McGuire, John Hathaway, Wayne Phillips and Gerry completed not only the compulsory 200,*300,400 & 600, but threw in a 1,000 as well. They all completed PBP that year too.
(*JWH's 300 turned around at Mount Baker, in snow).

There was a good deal of flexibility built into the events then. With starts in someone's east Vancouver home, those of us who lived out of town would start a hour early, do the last bit of the route first and finish close to home.

My first 200 in 1983 was a wet cold ride up to Maple Falls and it finished at Burnaby Lake. Barely fit enough for a 200, I took almost the maximum time. Then, with my front lamp mounted on the front of my H/B bag instead of my bike, I earned a 15 minute penalty that was added to my time. I was a menace on the road driving home as I was falling asleep.

Max time in those days for a 200 was 14 hours, logically reduced to 13.5 hours sometime later. Perhaps as a one time competitive cyclist I see things differently to others. It amounts to the difference between a competition and a challenge.
Cycling history is full of changes being forced upon the establishment by rebels.
If PBP is a race, so be it. But in 1956 the pros made it obvious they didn't want to devote so much time and money to such a long single stage event and so we have the current cooperative event. But if cooperation is to supersede competition then flexi starts make environmental, safety and economical sense.

In 1995 Ted Milner dreamed up a 600 that went from Fort Langley and turned round at Enumclaw. There were almost as many Americans riding as Canadians. I made a couple of phone calls and managed to get the Americans to start and finish at Enumclaw rather than Fort Langley. We crossed each other at about the mid point.

Next thing: Instead of a fixed time for a nominal distance, use modern systems so that time limits are based upon actual distance with time limits based upon 34 and 15 kph.
(Or less for the longer events.)



November 6, 2010