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Hathaway trophy winner John Bates (out front) had no trouble staying ahead of Danelle Laidlaw this year... also-rans Peter, Eric and Henry, struggle to keep pace with John and Danelle on the Cache Creek 600. photo: Janine Chase, June 2001.

2001 Season Review

At the end of September it was John Bates's name on the top of the Iron Butt list (6917 km) followed closely by Ken Bonner (who managed 3 marquee ultra-marathons and a spin up and down the Island - 6700 km), and John's tandem partner Danelle (Madam Pres) Laidlaw (6541 km) who missed riding only one event with John. John and Danelle had done LEL in July, before heading off to try tandem touring in Turkey. Rounding out the list of Titans was last year's Iron butt runner up, Ron Himschoot (with 6282 km this year). The best of the rest was a new face on the Iron butt leaders board, Larry Voth, with an impressive 4965 km. Believe it or not, Larry is a first time Super Randonneur this year, though he did squeak onto the Iron Butt list last year with 1500 km (made up of six shorter brevets.)

There were some notable fast rides this year also. After a sub 23 hour Cache Creek 600, Keith Fraser went on to be first finisher at the Gold Rush Randonnée (GRR), and co-first finisher at Boston Montreal Boston (BMB). Keith's BMB time, 54:20, was good enough to better Ken Bonner's record for a Canadian at BMB set just last year. Ken's time last year (54:26) had shaved about 35 minutes off Ted Milner's record, which had stood since 1992. Keith's Canadian BMB record is shared with co-first finisher Michael Lau from Ottawa who also finished with Keith (well, almost finished...but that's another story) at GRR.

One final speed note... Ted Milner dusted off his Cross Canada record-setting tandem, enlisted stoker Mark Hinder, and alongside Craig Premack entered new territory by crashing up against the fast end time limit at the Fall Flatlander 200 this year. (Their time was the limit - 5:53.) Both Ted and Keith Fraser had previously (and independently) ridden 200 km under 6 hours but never in a brevet. Ken Bonner was also on the course that day, but had to settle for a 6:30. We found out later that Ken had completed the Skagit Flats marathon the day before...

And speaking of Ken Bonner and marathons...the novelty story of the year has to be his Edge to Edge stunt. Ken noticed that the 'Edge to Edge' (Tofino-Ucluelet) Marathon and the Vancouver Island 600 happened to be scheduled for the same weekend this year. Then Ken said I wonder if... "I have this problem called "wunderif" --- started with running marathons ... ran 25; wunderif I can run 50; wunderif I can run 100; now at 131 marathons; wunderif ......... wunderif I can run a marathon in the middle of a 600 km??" (from an e-mail note from Ken, May 2001.) Well, he did it. Ken rode the first half of the 600, Victoria out to the rando control in Tofino, got a drive down to Ucluelet, ran the marathon (it was Ucluelet to Tofino this year), and then got back on his bike for the 300 km scramble back to Victoria - duathalon, Ken Bonner style. His time of 35:01 was comfortably within the 40-hour time limit for the 600.

Ken also became the first BC Randonneur to pass the 50,000 km lifetime event distance milestone this year (he's at 56,129 - go) ...wunderif he can reach 100,000 km?

Another sometimes off-the-rando-path overachiever in 2001 was Ray Wagner. Last year, you may recall, he and Peter Mair zoomed to a sub 24 hour Interior 600. This year Ray switched gears with a similarly impressive result. In September he won the 24 hours of Adrenalin Mt Bike race (solo division) at Silver Star BC. He managed 18 laps for a total of 300.6 km (off-road).

There was a bumper crop of first-time Super Randonneurs in 2001. Among them was another Ken, Ken Wright, who may have a claim on the top rookie distinction. Ken had ridden the Pacific Populaire 50 km route several times, and had remained upright for most of them, but had never ridden a randonnée. He rode a very fast Pacific Populaire 100 km (3:31) in April, and then went on to register an event distance total of 2100 km - the highest of the 1st time Super Randonneurs (if you don't count Larry Voth way up there in the penthouse, but who is not really a rookie). Ken's total was followed closely by Victoria area ride coordinator, and first time Super Randonneur, Mike Poplawski with 2078 km. In all there were 9 first time Super Randos - Larry Voth, Ken Wright, Mike Poplawski, David Blanche, Phil Jones, Roger Holt, Ivan Andrews, Mike Ball, and Jim Kirby - congratulations to all.

And finally, a Harold story... After his crash and subsequent hospitalization last spring, it didn't look like Harold was going to be seeing much action this year. But it's tough to keep Harold boxed-up. In the end Harold bounced back to complete the Flatlander - not satisfied with messing around with the easy route, Harold insisted on doing Tim Pollock's tougher new 'highlander' version of the ride (in a decent time too - 9:42). "I designed the pin this year," explained Harold "I just want to have one of my own" (paraphrase). Harold Bridge...74 and still zipping up those hills.

Eric Fergusson
November, 2001


The Class of '01 - Larry Voth, Ken Wright, and Mike Poplawski
(Photos by Dan McGuire, Dan McGuire, and Don Munro)

Note: John and Danelle action figures available for $19.95 through BC Randonneur Enterprises (tandem figurine extra), Manfred action figures half price while supplies last, and Keith Fraser Superman dolls are now available and FREE (but you have to catch them!)0