Trent Ernst, Editor
By the time you read this, there will be less than a week to go before I head out for a simple week-long, 850 km bike ride with a few of my closest friends.
Okay, so that’s a bit of a jest. With riders scattered all across Northern BC, I’ve only managed to meet five of the 16 riders who will be making this trip with us.
In training, the Tour de North riders have logged enough kilometres to have circumnavigated North America, and then, just for fun, bike all the way back across Canada. That’s a lot of miles and a lot of time logged in the saddle.
How long? Well, the target goal is 25 kph. That means it takes four hours to go 100 km. With over 22,000 km logged so far and counting, that’s nearly a thousand hours of riding, or 41 straight days of riding. Whew.
Fortunately, it hasn’t all been done in one go, but it bits and spurts across the last few months. But now, things are about to get serious. Because while biking 20-30 km a day can get you up to 1500 km over the course of the summer, we’ll be riding closer to 100 km every day, sometimes less, typically more.
Spending four or five hours in the saddle every day for a week is a lot different than spending an hour or two in the saddle a day over the course of a summer. Every year, says Erin Reynolds, the Community Giving Coordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society in Prince George and one of the organizers of the ride, at least one or two people fail to do the entire ride because they just haven’t put in the saddle time.
So in addition to biking two or three or four times a week for 20 or 30 km, I try and bike 100 km once a week.
There’s no real nice 100 km loop around here, so it’s always out and back. There are three possible destinations. The first is the old Bullmoose Ride. From my doorstep, it’s just under 100 km to the mine site and back, and, if I go head out of town as if going to Dawson, but turn right instead of left and go past the Co-op gas station, it adds on the extra few km I need to break 100.
Of course, instead of going out to Bullmoose, I could keep going to Gwillim, a distance of 98 km from my doorstep.
Finally, Stony Lake is about 110 km return.
Okay, I suppose I could bike towards Dawson along Highway 52. Biking to the rest stop and back would be about 110 km as well, but as far as destinations go, a pair of outhouses isn’t really all that interesting. And that highway is far too busy with no shoulder to speak of.
With less than a week to go, though, these last few rides are the icing on the cake, as it were, rather than serious training. For those riders who haven’t put the time in the saddle, it will be a hard haul. For the rest of us? Well, we shall see. This will be my first time riding with more than a couple other people, and, while I can go downhill with the best of them and can probably keep up on the flats, I’m still not sure how my hill climbing skills will match with the rest of the team. Genetics and too much Goodhost Iced Tea growing up have not played in my favour for hill climbing.
For those of you who are interested, you can follow the ride’s progress at bit.ly/tdnblog. And, of course, if you’re interested in contributing, you can donate at bit.ly/trentrider. Thanks for all your support.