Submitted by Sandra Beggs-In spite of a southeast wind so strong it could have stripped the hair off a gorilla’s rear end, almost all the cyclists participating in the first annual Race at the Edge completed the grueling 107 km race. Early Sunday morning competitors assembled at the Masset Rec Centre where Karen Thistle and Finn patiently facilitated registration. The recreational riders began at 10:30 led by 15-year-old Jane Hollenberg of Smithers, who finished her race in 4:59:58. The rest of the group shivered in their spandex while listening to last minute race instructions from organizer David Beggs. At 11:05 exactly they set off as a pack, everyone smiling, energetic and enthusiastic. They stayed together for a few kilometers and then at the bottom of ‘garbage dump hill’ just south of Masset the five strongest riders took off. Robyn Boise of Queen Charlotte riding in her first race ever on her brand new road bike, missed seeing the break by a few fatal seconds and made a valiant effort to bridge the gap, alas, to no avail. Riding very strongly, most of it on by herself, Robyn finished the women’s race in second place with a time of 4:08:46. I witnessed her effort and feel sure if she’d stayed with the lead group during the break she might well have held on throughout. Watch out for her at next year’s race!
The lead group, David Beggs (Charlotte), Kelvin Marks (Penticton), Jody Hollenberg (Smithers), James Newman (Tlell) and Jason Burch (Vancouver) formed a pace line and stayed together for many long, windy kilometers. By the time they got to Tlell, Kelvin, then James then Jody had dropped off the back leaving David and Jason vying for the lead. They stayed together until about seven kilometres before the finish line when Beggs broke away and finished first over all and first in the open men’s category in a time of 3:29:06. Jason came in second over all and second in the open men’s at 3:33:00 and then Jody flew across the line third over all and first in the women’s category in a time of 3:37:54. There must have been a bit of a battle between Kelvin and James out there on the road but Kelvin, who when I last saw them was behind James by a fair bit, managed to catch and pass young James to finish in first in the men’s master’s division in a time of 3:46:03. James coming in third in the open men’s division at 3:46:14 arrived mere seconds behind Kelvin. A fine battle to the finish.
A pack of riders pulled up the rear, riding together in a pace line for most of the race. All QCI riders, they were Peter Lake coming in second in the master’s division at 4:08:06 and, in another close race to the finish, there was Sonja Efford finishing third in the women’s category at 4:08:57, Barb Johnston (4:08:58) and Scott Hornidge (4:08:59). Coming in at the end on a big old mountain bike (that’s gotta be hard) in the recreational category was David Squires (4:40:43) of Masset.
There were crowds of people cheering the riders on at the finish line much to the delight of the exhausted but still smiling riders. There were many hugs and congratulations all around and then everyone met for a celebratory barbeque and awards ceremony. The race was only possible because of the dedicated group of volunteers who worked hard to facilitate. James Newman made the fantastic ‘Race In Progress’ signs you might have seen scattered up and down the highway. Peter Lake pulled together the creative and unique ‘Finish Line’ sign at the last minute. Tara and Deirdre from Terrace drove the sweep vehicle, keeping riders safe and picking up the signs while Jevan, Ivan and Hayley watched the riders in the middle and did some pinch-hit baby-sitting to boot. Gordon Horner was our man in Port Clements, keeping riders safe at the intersection while Alison (visiting med student) and her mom had a great early warning system set up at the Skidegate Landing stop light. Wendy Watts was our finish line official and cookie provider. Mark Batten made us some French loaves in honour of the Tour de Haida Gwaii and also helped cheer everyone on at the finish line. Thanks once again to all of our fine volunteers!
Sponsored by Derailleurs in the Mist Cycling Club, the first annual Race at the Edge was declared a success by all. Please feel free to join us every Sunday for our weekly group ride. We meet at the Queen Charlotte Community Club kiosk at 10 am and people of all riding abilities are encouraged to join inÂ… rain or shine!
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