Trip of a lifetime

Toni Crockett, along with her husband Dan, have embarked on the trip of a lifetime — though an accident has put a damper on things.

Dan and Toni Crockett are not your average 70-plus seniors. They are both avid cyclists who partake every year in the “Ride Through The Rockies” — a five-day ride out of Banff.

They have just embarked on the bike trip of a lifetime, a ride across Europe. As Dan told me in a recent email: “We have been planning now for over a year. Lots of planning and gear set up. Over 150 route maps created using Garmin, Strava, Google maps, Komoot and other apps. Settled on 11 countries, 4,600 kilometres and 100,000 feet of climbing. Starting our ride in Rome and riding 16 days in Italy. Planning on catching the finish of the Giro d’Italia at Treviso, Italy. Next five days in Slovenia, three days in Hungary, two days in Slovakia, two days in Austria, five days in Czechia, 13 days in Poland, five days in Germany, six days in Sweden, five days in Denmark, and the last month in Norway where Toni was born and raised. Our daughter Lisa and son Kenneth are flying to Tromso in northern Norway to ride with us for the last two weeks and explore the area where Toni grew up.”

On their return they plan to participate in the “Ride Through The Rockies” for the sixth time.

What an incredible ride! There are very few couples their age who could even dream about such a trip. I wish them all the best in this great adventure.

UPDATE

Just after writing the above story about the Crocketts, I learned that Toni fell off her bike in Rome on the first day of their trip and broke her arm. They hope to continue on in two or three weeks when she has recovered. Toni is a good cyclist, but riding a bike laden with heavy panniers is

difficult, especially starting off until you gain a bit of speed to help your balance. I don’t know if that is why she fell, but it’s quite likely.

RUNNING

The fourth race in the Canadian Tire Interior Road Race Series, the Blossom 10 Miler, was run on May 12. Kelowna’s Brad Bickley (M25-29) was first across the line in a very fast 52:51.

In second place was David Guss (M55-59) in 59:31. His time, though well behind Bickley was even more outstanding because with age grading (where age is used in a formula to estimate how a runner’s time for that run would have been were he or she in their 30s), Guss’ age-graded time came out at 49:32. That result would be only 21 seconds off the course record set by Kelowna’s great Phil Ellis in 1990.

Kelowna’s Cindy Rhodes won the F60-64 class in 1:18, but her age-graded time was 59:18. Amazingly close to the 60 minutes flat time she ran in 1990 when she was in her 30s… another fine run by one of Kelowna’s best ever runners.

Penticton runner, Hector Carlos (M45-49) was third in 1:02. The first woman overall was Penticton’s Christine Conibear (F40-44) in 1:05. She was followed by Penticton runners Amanda Avison (F35-39) in 1:11 and Ingrid Musselman Bell (F40-44) in 1:13.

Here are the local age group winners, besides those listed above (K for Kelowna, P-Penticton, V-Vernon, WK-West Kelowna, SA-Salmon Arm, S-Summerland):

Women — Sharlet Mentes (F30-34, K), Marie-Josee Bedard (F45-49, P), Rosalie Swart (F50-54, K), Janice (the Racer) Bradshaw (F55-59,WK), Sandra Wiggins (F65-69, P), Kathleen Yanke (F75-59, SA).

Men — Eli Grant (M16-19, P), Simon Steunenberg (M30-34, P), Chistopher West (M35-39, K), Jared Clarke (M40-44, WK), Sergio Pio (M50-54, P), Steven Buzikievich (M60-64, S), Roly Muller (M65-69, K), Mel Hunt (M70-74, K), Ellis Andrews (M75-79, Oliver) in the outstanding time of 1:24!

Special kudos to former Kelowna resident Bruce Butcher (M85-89, Kamoops) who, like a Timex watch, just keeps on ticking.

The Bloomesday 12K run in Portland, Ore., is one of the largest runs in the U.S. It attracts most of the fastest runners in North America as it offers nearly $100,000 US in prize money. This year, runners from Ethiopia won both the men’s and woman’s division. The winners each received $7,000 and prize money continued to the 15th place competitors who got $200. Brad Bickley, Kelowna’s fastest runner, entered this year and his time of 38:03 put him a very respectable 23rd overall in the field of 35,091 runners. The men’s winner was Gabriel Geay of Tanzania, who also won in 2017. His time was 34:48.

Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore continues to show why she is one of our country’s greatest ever female runners. Malindi competed for Canada in the 1,500-metre at the 2004 Olympic Games. She had her best international result at the 2011 Pan-American games in Mexico City, placing third in the 1,500-metre. Many fast runners find that as they get older they lose their short distance speed, but by switching to longer distances they can still be very competitive. This is certainly true of Elmore who a couple of months ago ran her first ever marathon in the very fast time of 2:32! She recently ran in the Times Colonist 10K in Victoria and was second female overall in a time of 32:58, first in her age class (F35-39) and only 30 seconds behind the first place runner who is 10 years younger.

CYCLING

Young Noah Rubuliak and even younger Tayte Proulx-Royds competed in the Junkyard Dog XCO provincial championships in Surrey on May 19. XCO is a cross-country mountain bike race consisting of several laps around a very tricky course. This description is from their website: “7 km total per lap. 6 km of forest single track per lap, with log rollovers, the expanded Loop ‘n Chute Rock Garden utilizing 13 tons of hand placed granite. The Jayride Booter, and the Little Ripper drop and rock garden have been upgraded. Other great features are the 93-foot long Fender Bender bridge, Loop ‘n Chute Rock Roll, the Dive Rock Garden, the Dog Leg bridge, Over The Creek Plank, our Beer Belly bridge, Jayride A-frame, wood wall ride, drops . . . the list goes on! Fast and flowy with three pumptrack flow trails, Dy-no-mite Roll, Chainless and Jayride. Big smiles every lap!”

Noah, who is, I believe, only 13, became the BC under 15 Champion and Tayte won the girls under 13 title.

This Sunday, I’ll be joining 500 other Okanagan cyclists for the Okanagan Shuswap Century Ride. This ride has been organized by Lisa Jaffery for the past 21 years and is always sold out in a couple of hours after the entry form is put on the internet at 6 a.m. on April Fool’s day. The ride starts and finishes at Memorial Park in Armstrong and follows scenic, low-traffic roads along a circuitous route up the Salmon Valley towards Enderby and back. Besides the 100K route there are options of 14K, 51k and 73K routes.

I wrote in my last column about the great riding done by Jordan Cheyne and his KHS team at the Tour Of The Gila. Jordan has written a great article about it on the Zwift blog. It is, as usual for Jordan, a great read, and this particular article really will open your eyes as to what it takes to ride in a pro cycling race. To read it go to zwiftinsider.com/open-pro-elevate-conquers-tour-of-the-gila.

COMING EVENTS

The next race in the Canadian Tire running series is the Blackwell Dairy 15K run in Barnhartvale (near Kamloops). This is one of the most popular runs in the series in spite of also being one of the hardest. The pain of running a very hilly 15K course disappears quite quickly after a post race breakfast of pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, followed by your choice of various flavours of ice cream cones made by Blackwell Dairy.

The second largest bike race in B.C. is the Axel Merckx Granfondo, which will be held in Penticton on July 14. This race attracts over 2,500 riders and offers a choice of four distances, 55K, 92K, 126K or 160K. It is a great event for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Bill Stephens is an Okanagan resident, founder and past president of the Kelowna Running Club, a founder of the Interior Running Association and past chairman of competition for the B.C. Cross-Country Ski Association. He has more than 500 races to his credit.

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