Roger’s Harvest ride 2011
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  Posted September 27th, 2011 by Zdenko  in Cycling, Edmonton | 4 comments

Closing the 2011 season in Edmonton

By Zdenko Kahlina

Is there a better time to ride a bike than at the end of September?
It’s perhaps the best time to get out and just ride for the pure pleasure of it. This year September had actually been better than all the previous months in the summer.

The leaves are turning yellow and the morning air is crisp, which means conditions are again ripe for Roger’s Harvest 100 ride. You’ve done all the work through spring and summer to become fit and strong, the race season is winding down, and the whole world around you is transforming into a spectacle of color.

Registration at Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Centre Calvin Berube took on Roger’s role to organize this year’s event (again).

On September 25th Velocity Cycle once again hosted the annual Harvest Ride, an interclub social event to mark the passing of another good season of riding and racing. It’s important to realize, this was not a race, but just a social ride to share in the fellowship of cycling and reflect on the past season. 

This annual event brings together Edmonton’s cycling community for an end of season celebration of riding and camaraderie in beautiful Strathcona County.  It was founded by Roger Tetrault, a lifelong member of Edmonton’s cycling and cross-country skiing community.  Velocity Cycle hosts the ride, and in 2010 it was renamed in Roger’s honour.

The start/finish location for Roger’s Harvest 100 has been changed this year. The event moved its starting line to the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club, just 2 blocks back from last year’s location at the Ardrossan Memorial Hall.  Departure time was set to be 10:00 am, just like last year. Cost of entry was $10/person, due to the new venue and catering cost. The registration fee covered participation in the ride and post-ride meal.

The Harvest Ride was conceived of by Roger Tetrault in 2000 while he and Laura were out riding on an autumn day in Strathcona County. All the leaves were turning and the farmers were out in the fields cutting. So, contrary to what was announced before, this year was already the 13th year since they started with the idea of having a bike ride in autumn, to close the season of bike riding in Alberta.

Organizers received more than 180 registrations and parking lots were full

Calvin Berube, the owner of Velocity bike shop, said Roger’s bike will always have a place of honor. “Goldie became his trademark. It is now hung in the store and will be used for all future Harvest rides”.

Parking lot at the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Centre was too small. There were more than 200 riders at the start.

Randy Murchinson of Velocity Cycle greeted all participants before the start in front of Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Centre

The first Harvest 100, named for its distance, drew some 160 riders from the Edmonton area. They gathered to celebrate the joy and fellowship of riding, and hopefully to see a bit of what made that first day special to Roger. After a successful first ride it became an annual event. Roger and Laura were regularly in attendance, often leading the ride out on their tandem. As the unofficial wrap-up to many a rider’s season, it has become a chance to gather in the cool air of autumn and the warmth of each other’s company and look back at a summer well spent on our bikes.

Off they go… fast 100 km loop group went first

Group after group heading out for a ride…

This was “my” group: slow 100 km loop ride.

This year’s ride was named again in memory of Roger. Roger’s Harvest 100, was hosted by Velocity Cycle club and the Tetrault family. Laura was at the start greeting participants – all 200 of them who showed up (rough estimate). The weather was perfect – sunny and warm, but a little windy. Clear sky’s and chilly morning greeted all riders who came to Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club this morning. For the first time I noticed all fields around the Ardrossan Recreation Centre were full with cars well before 10 AM and people were still coming.

The ride was open to everyone from club racers to recreational riders. Randy Murchinson orchestrated the start lineups and organized 3 groups for the 100 km ride and another 3 groups for the 65 km ride. One of the groups was led out by Roger’s brother Gill, who came from Vancouver, riding his brother’s unique gold-coloured Marinoni bike nicknamed Goldie.

“I was planning to do 100, but we got mixed up and I think we ended up at 60 something,” he said after the event.

“But it was fun, and I am so glad the guys at Velocity Cycle picked up the torch. Roger was all about enjoying people, getting them together. So this is a nice tribute.”

Roger founded the Fast Trax ski shop, which was originally housed in the Velocity store on 101st Avenue during the winter.

“My brother did everything: ski, cycle, skate. When I am out on the ski trails, I feel I am there with him, and when I come upon a certain spot, I remember things like ‘this is where we used to do our glide tests,’ or ‘there’s that sharp corner we always had to watch.’ ”

Willem Langenberg, who skated and cycled with Roger, remembers him as “so enthusiastic and inspirational.” He was always open and willing to help others. “Everyone was welcome with Roger when it came to skiing and cycling, and he even inspired (Edmonton’s) Tara Whitten (a world champion track cyclist).”

This Velocity couple on tandem bike  comes every year…

Big groups of riders rolled out from the parking lot at 10:00 am, Sept. 25 from the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club. The routes loop through beautiful Strathcona County. Shorter and longer routes (approx. 60km and 100km) were available.

Cyclist’s average speed was high even in a “slow” group

Did you get my good side??

Even though this was not a race, the average speed was very high for this time of a year. Altough the weather was nice, it was very windy, with the southeast wind slowing the groups on the way back to Ardrossan. But nobody was complaining. It appears, speed is in cyclist blood.

Riders during the 100 km ride

Riders during the 100 km ride

Riders during the 100 km ride

This was a special year for the Harvest Ride. The ride was initiated by Roger Tetrault, club member and longtime supporter of cycling and cross-country skiing in the Edmonton area. Roger left us two years ago after a long battle with cancer, and this year the ride was again named and lead out in his honor.

Spectacle of color in Strathcona County and a pee break for the group.

A post-ride social lunch followed afterward at the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club in Ardrossan. Somebody mentioned that Calvin was the cook!

Velocity Cycle would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who joined us last weekend for Roger’s Harvest 100. The ride was a big success, with great weather, beautiful scenery, and a wonderful turnout from the cycling community. This was the 13th year of the ride, which Roger began as an opportunity for us all to get together and share our love of riding. Thank you for all your support, not only in participating and helping with the ride, but also in expressing support for the Tetrault family and the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

We have a few photos of the ride, many taken from on the bike during the 65km loop. Hope you enjoy them…

Thanks again everyone! Hope to see you again next year!

A little post-ride fellowship, with a meal courtesy of Calvin Berube.

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4 comments to “Roger’s Harvest ride 2011”

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  2. Comment by David:

    What an excellent post! This must’ve been an gorgeous autumn day. It’s nice to see such a huge turnout of cyclists for the event. Didn’t know cycling is this popular in Canada. I will be going through this again and again, bookmarking this right now!

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