Memories from the 24 Hrs of Adrenaline, 20/21 July 2002, Canmore, AB, Canada.
How did 6 English blokes and a Dutch women end up competing in the 2002 24 Hrs of Adrenaline race at Canmore?
Brian & Martine, whilst on their round the world travels, stumbled into the race in 2000. They were so impressed with the race setting of Canmore and the Rockies that they vowed to return. They only needed some other victims to form a team to compete with.
The race has various categories of solo, 2, 4 or 5 person and corporate (6-10 persons). We had too many volunteers for a 4 or 5 person team, but not enough for two 4 or 5 person teams either. Therefore we elected for the corporate category with 7 members and named ourselves the Double Dutch Pancake Bar (UK) Team (after Martine's business in Sheffield, England).
The race takes part over 24 hours (from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday) where each team member must complete at least one lap before passing the team baton onto the next rider. To help spread out the teams, at the start, a 600m run is followed by a 3km prologue lap.
A team of 6 Brits and one Dutch girl assembled for the 24 hour mountain bike race at the Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta. We were entered in the Corporate category, competing against 57 other teams under the “Double Dutch Pancake Bar.com” banner. The team consisted of the following:
Adrian Field (chief nutter/fast person, intimidator of small people)
Pete Brown (chief old person and vice president, crashing committee)
Gary Hill (the Captain)
Guy Exley (president, crashing committee)
Brian Tear (chair of chairman and chief giver of orders)
Martine Verweij (Mrs Muscles)
Carl Myhill (cougar bait and rim splitter)
photo 1: The Team (from L to R) Pete, Gary, Guy, Brian, Ade, Martine, Carl, Kerry & Sally the dog.
We arrived at the Nordic centre on Friday evening complete with our bikes and a vast amount of gear borrowed from our hosts (Adrian & Kerry Field) and their neighbours. After a special carbo loading meal (pretzels and beer), we retired to bed. The next morning, we made our last drop of gear at the race, and cycled our bikes up to the team pit. A remarkably organized pit welcomed us. We had lots of different food, sleeping quarters and a workshop area (the grass to the left of the tent). We even had a mascot – Sally the dog – but no banners to advertise our company (unlike most of the other Corporate teams).
photo 2: The line up for the start (Ade is in the white T-shirt on the R).
photo 3: They're off!
The race starts at midday. Adrian has a flyer, and completes the first lap in 59 minutes. This also includes a running start (600 metres) and an extra prologue loop of cycling of 3km. We are well up in the standings already, but the time of the best guys (46 minutes) indicates that there is no way we can win. Given, however, that this team appears to have half of the Canadian national roadie team in it, we are not too down. After that, we settle into a remarkably consistent routine of normal (17km) laps around the hour mark. The race organizers find BBC radio somewhere, so we are treated to Pete Tong’s Saturday night dance music, which eases the pain a bit. The course is an excellent lap – a combination of fast downhilling on firetrails, technical singletrack, and just enough climbing to make it a real challenge without being impossible. The dust played havoc with everybody’s breathing, but the laps kept coming smoothly. By 6pm, we are up to 4th in category, but then a puncture sees us drop to 7th. The heat of the day disappears, and the evening rides begin. Lights on bikes as required by the race rules, but we conveniently forget to include the batteries, thus keeping the bikes nice and light. Guy did the twilight shift, coming to grief on a fast right hander which had deteriorated with all the traffic. Gary then does the first full night lap. A fantastic experience – with 20 watts of lighting for the serious sections, times were almost identical to the daytime times, and the cool mountain air was a real difference to the heat of the day. Carl appears a bit bemused by the dark, but the growling of an unidentified beast behind him delivers the required drive and determination to knock a couple of minutes off his time. Martine manages to scare lots of competitors with her muscular approach to downhilling, but this can’t combat the combination of dehydration and lack of eating, and she retires to bed looking much the worse for wear. Guy brings in the dawn, but Gary then punctures. We are back to 7th again after climbing the results table through the night. Brian puts in another consistent lap, and Martine comes back from the dead to put in a good lap. Carl goes out instructed to lap without mechanical problems, and promptly returns with a broken rear wheel. The pit area becomes a maelstrom of activity, as people dive to find Adrian’s shorts, shoes, courage etc. He goes out an hour before he expects, but puts in another sub hour lap, and we are almost back where we were. But now, we are worried about tiredness – we had counted on doing 3 laps each, but several of us now have to do 4. With just over one hour to go, we are still 6th, 5 minutes up on 7th place. Pete manages a good lap, despite having a super fast crash (happily without injury), but the 7th place team put in a huge lap, and overtake us. However, they are overconfident, and decide not to send out another rider. We struggle to believe their choice, and face up to our own decision – take an easy 7th place, or send out another person – if we can lap within 61 minutes, we can grab 6th place. It is looking unlikely – we are tired, but cometh the hour……….Gary steps up to the plate, and sets off. The 6th place team try some sneaky gamesmanship, shouting about how Gary’s legs have gone, but it doesn’t work. He motors down the final straight, records 59 minutes, and we take 6th place. Victory (even for 6th place) never tasted so sweet.
photo 4: The Finish - Gary comes in at 24:57:42 with just over 2 minutes to spare!
ConclusionOverall, a fantastic race to be involved in. We covered almost 250 miles, and had only two punctures and a broken wheel. Others broke freewheels, chains, cranks and collar bones. Our effort was remarkable for its consistency – everybody contributed well, and improved their laptimes significantly during the course of the week’s preparation. Given the fact that we were a team of 7 competing against teams of 10 (often with ringers in their squad), we felt proud of our achievement.
Course Profile (click on image for pdf colour version)
Race Fees etc:The Corporate category entry fee for the race was CAN$950 (approximately £415) for from 6 to 10 riders.
The fee includes free camping (Friday & Saturday) an event T-shirt each, midnight corn roast and film (which we were to busy riding and supporting each other to attend) and draw prizes. There was also mention of: free Clif Bars, free water bottles, post race pasta party, event guide. The mentioned 'race kit' was said to include a 'package containing swag from our Sponsors for all your team members' which was just a bag of leaflets. Corporate teams are required to provide a volunteer to help for 4.5 hours at the event.
To compete all riders were required to have a recognized UCI or ABA cycling license. One Day Event Licenses were available at registration for CAN$5.00 each.
The event was very well organised and had a friendly atmosphere.
Getting There:One half of the team travelled by JMC direct from Gatwick to Calgary. The cost was around £540 which included 20kg of luggage, 5kg hand luggage and the bikes went free (although a disclaimer had to be signed). The flights to and from Canada were delayed by between 2 to 3 hours. The only catch with the JMC flight is that only 7 or 14 day returns were available.
The other half of the team travelled by American Airways from Gatwick to Calgary via Dallas Fort Worth. The cost was around £640 which included 2 items of luggage upto 32kg (64kg total) and were informed by our agent (Trailfinders) that the bikes went free (although a charge of $100 was made by American Airlines for any bikes being transported back into Europe!). The flights to and from Canada were delayed by between 1 to 2 hours. On the way out the bikes and luggage had to be reclaimed and checked-in again with all the additional hassle of customs. There was only the imigration hassle on the way back! In addition there was a wait of between 2 to 3 hours at Dallas. In summary we would not advise flying with American Airways due to the extra ticket cost, longer flight via Dallas and the hidden $100 fee for the bike on return.
We hired a people carrier from Alamo at Calgary airport to transport us and the bikes back to Canmore in two trips. The service from Alamo was excellent.
Bike Packing Tips:Four of our bikes were transported in the standard cardboard bike boxes and the remaining two in hard plastic cases. The only rough handling experienced was by the American Airlines route where numerous holes appeared in the boxes! Various on packing were gleaned from mbr (UK), cyclingadventure, Exodus and cyclotour.
Accomdation:Camping plots are provided for the race available on Friday afternoon. For the rest of our trip we were very fortunate to be able to stay with our friends Adrian & Kerry. Otherwise the Alpine Club of Canada have their head office and various bunkhouse accomodation just on the outskirts of Canmore. This is where we had planned to stay and their rates are very favourable.
Bike Shops:The team required various help from the three local bike shops (Bicycle Café, Rebound Cycles & Altitude Sports) and found them all to be very helpful. Our particular favourite was the Bike Cafe.
Canmore , AB
902 Main Street, Canmore, AB, T1W-2B8
701 Bow Valley Trail
Tourist Information:Tourist Information was available from the local Tourism Canmore, Tel: 403-678-1295
Weather Information:Live web cams of Canmore and weather information were available at a couple of sites http://www.canmorealberta.com/news/index.html#reports & http://www.canmorealberta.com/gallery/index.html
Kit Information & Tips:There were a variety of bikes used as follows:
Gary, Specialized, 2002 Stumpjumper M4 Disc 19"
Pete, Specialized, 2001 Stumpjumper M4 18"
Guy, Specialized, 2000 FSR XC 18"
Brian, Canondale, 2000 F4000SL M
Martine Emelle, 1998 18"
Carl, Kona, 1998 Cinder Kone 18.5"
Adrian, Kona, 2001 Cinder Kone 20"
Tyre choice and lights will be added soon!
References:Event Organiser http://www.24hoursofadrenalin.com
Photo Gallery http://www.trilife.com/photoselect.cfm?eid=37&year=2002
Results Overall http://www.trilife.com/results/events/Canmore_2002/agg_results.html
Canmore Nordic Centre http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/enjoying_alberta/parks/featured/kananaskis/parks_canmore.asp
Circuit (click on image for pdf colour version)