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2020 AGM President's Report
by Colin Fingler

Colin's President's report at the (vitual) 2020 AGM on December 14 was an insightful summary of our unusual season. I had forgotten a lot of this stuff. The report is available in AGM the minutes, but I wanted to share it in the newsletter also. Colin agreed. Here it is. [EF]

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My 2020 cycling season began as it usually does in January … with some reading. Jacquetta Benard’s most entertaining account of her recent PBP experience, Meaghan Hackinen’s tale of her staggering NorthCape4000 ride from the previous summer. I remember updating that event’s Spot Locator page twice daily, marvelling at her progress. There were also the Permanent Ride reports from the BC-12 gang – Karen Smith, Barry Monaghan, Gary Baker & the Sorcerer himself, Mike Hagen. I’ve never ridden a permanent myself, but I love the fact that we offer them and I find the reports to be somehow motivating to setting my own ride objectives for the year. Each is a small tale of adventure and an illustration of their passion for our sport. A contagious passion.

So, thank-you storytellers!

Late January brought a sobering reminder of the perils of the road, as many of us participated in the Mike McIntosh memorial ride; Mike was a BC Randonneur killed in North Van on a Sunday morning ride one year before. The white ghost bike that we placed on Esplanade in his memory is still in place.

In early March we held our Spring Social at the St. Regis in Vancouver. Remember that? Seems ages ago. We ate and drank together… less than 2 m apart. We heard from Bob Koen’s organizing committee about the new Coast Mountain 1200 planned for July; we signed up route organizers and Populaire volunteers and answered questions from the BCIT marketing students for their analysis project on our Club. We announced Dave Macmurchie as the Roger Street Award recipient, Mike Hagen as the “Iron Butt”, and handed out assorted pins and medals, being careful to fist bump instead of shaking hands due to this new virus that was ‘making the rounds’.

And then, just as we were starting to ramp things up with the Early Bird 200’s - Lorraine Nygaard’s on the Island and Gary Baker’s on the Mainland, the world changed. And fast. A pandemic was declared and the virus now had a name – COVID-19.

A declared State of Emergency, Public Health Orders, lock downs and a quick succession of Directors’ meetings (Thank-you Directors) soon translated into a total shutdown of all Club activities. No Brevets, no Permanents, no Populaires, no Fleche, no Coast Mountain 1200. We shelved the BCIT Marketing recommendations. And we all got to know Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Back to short local rides, and more reading. Bob Koen treated us to his recent Patagonia Cycle Travelogue, and I browsed the Newsletter archives – rediscovering some old favourites – checkout Gary Sparks’ “Barely Made It” from his 2010 solo 1000 to Bella Coola.

As the summer approached and the case count dropped, in early June, the BC Government released its Return to Sport Guidelines. Along with sport organizations all over the province, we began to consider how we might Return to our Sport, while keeping riders, volunteers and the public safe.

By July 1, we had a new set of Covid-19 Rules, a new Covid-19 waiver (thanks Gary Sparks), a new on-line Registration process, and a contact-tracing protocol. Permanents were back on and so were Brevets, now allowed within a multi-day ‘ride window’ (an idea we borrowed from the Alberta Randonneurs). All rides were now to be ‘self-guided’, with no provided organizer support.

On July 4, Bob Goodison, Barry Chase and Wim Kok rode (separately) the ‘Mabel in the Middle’ 200 following the new procedures and with that, our Club was back on the road. As I recall, the Hagen family rode the first permanents.

It didn’t all go smoothly. In early August, we moved from a GoogleForms Registration to custom forms hosted by our own database; getting folks to login, enter forms and upload signed waivers and control cards had its challenges. This registration process meant considerable effort behind the scenes to collect & review your waivers, verify electronic payment, generate a route sheet (or a variation for an alternate
start location), plus issue and review your control cards. I know first hand what a challenge that was, but big-time kudos are especially due to Cheryl Lynch and Stephen Hinde who did most of the heavy lifting on the required registration/validation, taking on much of the organizer’s traditional duties for multiple events, each now over multiple days!

Of course, our resident rando programmer, Etienne Hossack, was very much involved on quickly developing & implementing these changes, with help from Ryan Golbeck on the database side of things.
Thanks guys!

The Regional Route Coordinators, Nigel Press, Mark Payten, Bob Goodison & Wim Kok were in the thick of things as well, scrambling to confirm organizers, routes sheets, pre-rides and adjust & explain the new processes to their somewhat bewildered ride organizers. And through it all, webmaster Eric Fergusson kept us all plugged into the latest procedure, the upcoming (& overlapping) ride windows as well as the results.

Fortunately, we did not need to execute the contact-tracing protocol we developed, but I believe that we were ready and able to do so if needed.

So, what did we deliver?

By my count, since July 1, our 158 current members (including at least 10? new ones), have organized 33 events, attracting 310 riders, of whom 288 finished. 26 riders managed to complete a full Super Randonneur series (including Peter Stary with his 34 th ) and we even had one ultra completed by Bob Goodison on his own “Go for the Goat! 1000” in September. And a few dozen permanents to boot.

Consider that many Randonneur clubs around the world have been unable to run any events at all since March.

So all in all, a pretty big effort by a sizeable group of volunteers for an appreciative group of riders. Thanks everyone! You may give yourselves a virtual pat on the back.
But we are not yet ‘out of the woods’! As you know, last week, the Directors suspended all ride activities in support of arresting the rising case count and the latest Public Health Directives. With distribution of the vaccine just underway, and careful attention to the Health orders, I am optimistic that we may be back to pre-Covid style rides by 2022, but I suspect this upcoming summer may look a lot like this last summer. Perhaps we will be able to stage a fall Populaire. And unshelve those BCIT Marketing recommendations! We shall see!

On a final note, I must, unfortunately, report that our Club has not escaped unscathed from this Health crisis. Many of you will have heard that Dan McGuire died on Saturday of Covid-19. He was 88 and living in the Lakeshore Care Home. Dan was club member #2, and one of our founding members. He was an adventurous person and as you might imagine, passionate about randonneuring.
From Deirdre, I learned that Dan was the driving force behind the Flèche Pacifique, the first Flèche event allowed to be held outside of France. He was a regular attendee at the post-Flèche Sunday morning buffet – I shared a table with him many times. I understand now the pleasure he must have gained from seeing and hearing the riders recount their team’s (mis)adventures from the previous 24 hours, on a unique event that he pioneered. Merci et Bonne Route Dan!
And that is it for my report and also for my stint as Club President. Thank-you for the challenge and the privilege. Keep safe. And please, keep those stories coming.




 

January 21, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

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