A review of the Blizzard Bike Club’s 2009 season, as submitted to Moose FM by Pat Ferris:
Fort St. John’s Blizzard Bike Club had an exciting 27th season. It started in the snow and cold and ended in a very nice ‘fall’.
Club highlights were 3 Provincial medals bringing the club historic total to 44. Robert Martens duplicated his Gold Criterium medal this year. Rod Lewis won gold in the Saskatchewan Cat 5 Cyclocross Championships and Bob Andrews stole a bronze from the Saskatchewan provincial time trials.
Billy Bucknall and the Polehoykies were ‘Ironmen’. Stephen Ferris raced at the Tour of the Gila along with another rider named ‘Lance’. Colter Young did Abitibi with the Alberta Team. Three local riders went to the BC Seniors Games. Pat & Stephen Ferris and Colter Young did the National cyclocross Championships in Edmonton at season’s end. The Blizzards won the Challenge Cup series again, as well.
The first event of the year was the New Years Day ride, with 6 participants braving -37 degree weather.
Serious racing started in March with little improvement in the weather. Floyd Polehoykie won the first road race of the year at a balmy -18. The Roubaix Cup – three race March series wasn’t much better with Pat Ferris sweeping all three events in the snow and more cold temperatures. Eighteen riders came out at the end of March for the hottest day of the month – 5 ‘C. Colter Young and Jolea Bilodeau won the day.
April weather did improve, mostly. Bob Andrews picked up the first Baldonnel time trial win of the year. Blaine Richter of G.P. won the Spring Stage Race opener, the ‘Rocky Road Race’ in the mud and loose gravel, on the Pineview circuit in Taylor. Colter Young was the dominant rider in the remaining spring stage race events, eventually winning five. Luckily for the older riders Colter is a junior and won the junior trophy. Pat Ferris won the Senior Men’s’ trophy and Barb Polehoykie won the Women’s. Colter Young beat Pat Ferris to win the 3rd Challenge Cup race in Dawson Creek.
The 60 km Sweetwater road race featured enough snow and sleet along the way to turn the race winner into a popsicle at the finish line.
Winter Photo – Pat Ferris leads a BBC contingent up a snowy hill.
In May the weather for the Blizzards mostly took a turn for the better with the exception of the King and Queen of Spring races which were snowed out in the middle of May.
The Thursday night time trials on the Baldonnel road were as popular as ever. Pat Ferris and Bob Andrews routinely dueled for the top times, while Sandy McDonald continually re-set the Women’s top time records. Bob Andrews won the 15 mile Phoenix and the 40 km Peejay time trial, with Sandy McDonald winning both the women’s events.
The King & Queen of Spring race went on a warm night in early June. Pat Ferris held off a crowd for a close, repeat win and Sandy McDonald won the Women’s. Peter King edged out Colter Young to win a long and difficult Club Road Championship race on the Montney Store loop. Roger St. Jean outsprinted Gord ‘The Hammer’ Harris for third.
Dawson Creek riders won the Bear Mountain Challenge Cup double header, late June.
A season high 29 riders came out for the Challenge Cup Time Trials on Cecil Lake, in mid-July. G.P. riders picked up the wins in the individual 16 km and team time trial events. Sven Svenson won the Teepee Creek Challenge Cup race. George Gamble picked up his first Challenge Cup win in Dawson Creek in September in awful rainy cold conditions.
Long distance specialists Wim Kok and Eric Snucins were awarded the Super Randonneur awards for completing 200, 300, 400 and 600 km distances.
Colter Young made his second appearance at the Tour Abitibi in Quebec against world class competition and went on to a 28th place finish in the Nationals road race. Colter returned in time to smash the club hill climb record at Bear Flats. He later went on to race the Canada Games events in PEI. Pat and Stephen Ferris went to Edmonton for the July 1 Canada Day Criterium.
Pat Ferris was the repeat winner of the Terry Stone memorial time trial in Hudson’s Hope. Jolea Bilodeau won the Women’s race. Club riders were one rider short of getting a time for the Oakridge Masters Time Trial.
The Club also opened its new Beatton Cactus mountain circuit. Trevor McDonnell, Sven Svenson, Pat and Stephen Ferris all took turns winning events on the demanding course. Trevor McDonnell won an impressive mountain bike club championship, over last year’s winner Pat Ferris on a very hot day.
The Cyclo-cross season started in the fall. Pat Ferris, Stephen Ferris and Sven Svenson took turns winning the local events on the NPSS loop. Pat Ferris eventually won the club championships. Some of the club riders went to Edmonton for the National Cyclo-cross Championships under cold and snowy conditions. G.P. rider Blaine Richter came within a few seconds of a bronze in the Jim Horner UCI point’s race. Pat Ferris was 7th.
The club banquet wrapped up the season.
Stephen Ferris racing in 2009. Photo courtesy Pat Ferris.
Meanwhile, Blizzard Bike Club triathletes had another busy and successful season with two Ironman finishes and numerous half and sprint series finishes. Billy Bucknall started out the season with a fast finish in February’s Ironman New Zealand.
Barb (her second IM) and Floyd Polehoykie successfully completed Ironman Penticton in August. Those not familiar with this epic event should consider the distances of ‘The Ironman’, in the Okanagan sun. Each triathlete starts with a 2.5 mile massed-start, open-water lake swim, followed by a 112 mile open-road bike ride over Richter Pass, and finishes with a 26.2 mile marathon. A good age class time is 10-15 hours of non-stop effort.
The Baldonnel Duathlon season was the first `tri` event of the year with Billy Bucknall easily winning the 2 k run, 8 k bike, and 2 k run event. He had a time of 29:07 minutes for the late April duathlon. Pat Ferris was second and Cam Chiorando third. Kathryn Fairweather edged out Sandy McDonald and Barb Polehoykie for the women`s win.
The six race duathlon season was well attended. Local triathletes did the first `try a triathlon in Dawson Creek`, then Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Stony Plain, Prince George and then Fort Nelson.
Wanda Laliberte and her team did the extremely difficult ‘Full Moon in June’ adventure race, which is similar to an off-road triathlon but lasting up to 36 hours.
A duathlon series is planned for the season, as well as one off-road duathlon, featuring a mountain biking loop and cross country running.
Barb and Floyd Polehoykie and Gord `the Hammer` Harris have signed up for the Penticton Ironman in August, 2010. This will be Barb and Gord’s third Ironman and Floyd’s second. Triathlon training for next year is happening as we speak with locals ‘turbo training’ at Ferris Fast Cycles twice a week. Yes, ‘newbies’ are welcome to join them. There is no better time to start.
Click here to listen to a Christmas interview with Jon Zacks and Stephen Ferris (runs 3:20) [asset|aid=2315|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=4d5472c56bb82c93cae3cdae2056eccc-SFerris-x-mas-Air_1_Pub.mp3]
The Blizzard Bike Club opens the 2010 season with a New Year’s Day ride. The annual event began in 1984, when formal attire was required. Today, riders can wear what they want, though something warm is recommended. The ride starts at 1 p.m., at A&W.