Jay's Report - August 11, 2004


Mountain biking has long become a staple activity in Fernie. You need look no further than the summer time line-ups of armor clad mountain bikers at the ski-lifts for confirmation of that, not to mention the TransRockies Challenge that started in downtown Fernie this past weekend and the Canada Cup that runs next weekend up at the hill.

Road biking is also popular in Fernie. Like many of my 40 something friends, I traded up from my 20 year old Bianci road bike to one of them new fancy models marketed to make you look, but not necessarily ride, like Lance Armstrong. There are hundreds of miles of outstanding road biking routes in and around the Fernie area. This past weekend I tested my hibernating thighs in the first annual Highline 100, a road bike ride of 100 kms or 100 miles (rider�s choice). The Highline 100 was conceived by part time locals Curtis Rytz and Brad Zumwalt as way of commemorating Fernie�s centennial and as a way to create an annual local charity event (proceeds from the ride are being donated to the Fernie hospital). It�s also a way of paying homage to a sport they love in a place they love.

The ride was well organized with riders young and ole, support vehicles, a cinnamon bun/ coffee stop, across the border pub stop and lunch. There were even florescent markings on the road for every 10 kilometers pedaled. The course started at Highline Drive at the ski hill, ventured west down highway 3 then south on highway 93 across the border and back north through a series of undulating and curving roads alongside lake Kookanoosa and Baynes Lake. It was beautiful. Following the ride there was a kids� 5km ride around the ski hill area which was strategically paced by Kim Furhman (who just returned from riding portions of the Tour de France). Thanks for the pics Kim. (For the record, I rode the 100 miles, not the kids� ride.)

A barbeque followed at the end and continued well into the wee hours in an effort to get the better of the giant keg of fine Fernie local ale. It was apparent from the slit eyed challengers the next morning that the the keg won. The ride was well attended for the first annual with about 40 riders split equally between out of towners and local folk. Joining the peleton was well known local and adventurer supreme Linda Socher together with local friend Louise. These ladies ride further than many of us drive in one year. It�s nothing short of inspiring to see these ladies (both in their 60�s) barely breaking a sweat over the 100 mile ride.

The organizers� vision for the Highline 100 is to grow its popularity into an annual event that will serve to raise money for Fernie local causes like the Fernie hospital. As an extra touch of class, each rider received a yellow �Livestrong� bracelet courtesy the Zumwalts. The Livestrong bracelet is a token of support of the Lance Armstrong cancer foundation.

I love inaugural events like this. There was an excitement and energy of witnessing something good unfold. This was one great event. The route, the cause, the sport, the people; the inaugural Highline 100 had soul. Well done lads.

The Highline 100, watch for it next year.

Getting ready for the 7:30 am start!

Organizer Brad Zumwalt explaining the route

Riders in the across the border pub

Getting ready for the kids ride

100 miler Mike Delich and organizer Curtis Rytz together with the inaugural poster at the barbeque