Roger’s Harvest ride 2012
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  Posted September 25th, 2012 by Zdenko  in Cycling, Edmonton | 2 comments

Edmonton cycling

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Perfect weekend to close the 2012 season in Edmonton!
Is there a better time to ride a bike than at the end of September? Especially with the weather we’ve been having lately. It’s perhaps the best time to get out and just ride for the pure pleasure of it. Read on!

Start was at the Ardrossan Senior Activity Centre

 This year again, 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. This can only mean one thing: ‘The Roger’s Harvest 100’ km ride is here.

Registration at Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Centre

Parking lots at the Ardrossan Recreational Centre were reserved for cyclists. Organizers received about 250 registrations and parking lots were full

Before the ride Laura Tetrault and Calvin Berube had few words from the truck for all 250 participants.

Socializing before the start

Parking lot at the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Centre was too small.

It’s Velocity Cycle Club once again
On September 23rd 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 year a special honor to this event was paid by participation of Alex Stieda, a former Canadian professional road bicycle racer. Alex captured five classification jerseys of the Tour de France, the yellow jersey, the polka dot, the multi-colored, the red and the white, on the second day of the 1986 Tour de France, becoming the first North American to lead the Tour de France. Even during this event, his influence on a younger riders was evident and he was showing them more ‘tricks’ than they could handle. Personally, I was impressed how strong he was during the ride, which means he is still doing lots of bike riding!

Off they go… 2012 Roger’s Harvest Ride 100 has started

All 250 riders started at the same time

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. 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. Velocity Cycle hosts the Harvest Ride for 14 years in a row, and back in 2010 it was renamed in Roger’s honor.

The start/finish location has been at the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club, just 2 blocks back from previous 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.

Alex Stieda shortly after the start enjoying relaxed atmosphere

The first Harvest 100, named for its distance, was organized back in 1999 and 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.

Roger was all about enjoying people, getting them together. So this is a nice tribute to his memory! Roger founded the Fast Trax ski shop, which was originally housed in the Velocity store on 101st Avenue during the winter. 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).”

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”.

Group after group heading out for a ride…

Everybody was enjoying their ride at the beginning

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 250 of them who showed up (rough estimate). I don’t know if it was the weather or the fact this event is becoming more popular every year, but it seems that everyone who matters in Edmonton cycling showed up on the start line. 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.

Richard Henderson during the ride

Peter Heppleston… strong legs… like a real pro!

Clear sky’s and chilly morning greeted all riders who came to Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club, and like Alex Stieda said at one point during the ride, there was not enough wind (to make a difference during the ride). The ride was open to everyone from club racers to recreational riders.

Randy Murchinson orchestrated the start lineups and for a change this year the organizers decided to have all the riders start as one big (huge!!) group and let the speed make its course and brake cyclists into several smaller groups during the ride. What that actually meant was the pace of the group was fast right from the start. It almost felt like a real race. I liked it this way and as it was more fun to ride in a big group. I am so glad the guys at Velocity Cycle picked up the torch to organize this.

This couple on tandem bike comes every year…

Big groups of riders rolled out from the parking lot at 10:00 am, from the Ardrossan Senior Citizen’s Club. The route goes through beautiful Strathcona County. Shorter and longer routes (approx. 65km and 110km) were available. The route this year started with the North loop reaching Josephburg on TWP 550 and than returning to Ardrossan after 65 kilometers covered. This was a chance for the riders to regroup and only well trained and more experienced riders continued onto the South loop. On the South loop cyclists rode on Baseline Road all the way to Elk Island National Park where they made a right turn (South) until they reached Wye Road. They rode around Antler Lake, finishing back at the Ardrossan after 110 kilometers of fast riding.

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

Did you get my good side?? Neven Kahlina and Ben Bagnall cornering…

During the north loop, front group was cruising at a steady but high pace through the harvested fields (hence the name of this event!) of beautiful Strathcona County. The group was about 30-40 riders in size and most of the time they were riding in nice double paceline. Because there was no wind, they didn’t need to form echelons.

David Embury (in yellow) in the first group after about 50 kilometers.

Going through Ardrossan for the second time without stopping.

Once we passed Ardrossan for the second time and reached Baseline Road on the south loop of today’s route the ride became a constant battle for positions, with attacks going off the front and then being pulled back following frantic chases. The most aggressive rider was Alex Stieda, who was at the same time showing his Juventus teammates (and others) how to ride and what to do…

Peter Heppleston during the 100 km ride.

At one point a move of 6 riders gained 20 seconds (including Alex) and there was a strong chase from behind including several younger rides and two ‘oldies’: Peter Heppleston and myself. For several kilometers while riding on RR 210 we were very close, but couldn’t quite manage to bridge the gap. Finally when we turned onto Wye Road, we  merged with the front group. Later on another move of 3 riders surged away (the brake was ‘arranged’ by Alex), but yet again we pulled them back just as we were turning onto the road that would take us back to Ardrossan Recreational Centre, only two kilometers from the finish.

Front group of 13 riders at 10 km before finish going through the spectacle of autumn color in Strathcona County

As I was getting ready for the final sprint to the imaginary line, everyone suddenly eased off and finally remembered that this was not a race. So, there was no sprint and everyone who finished was a winner!!

Even though this was not a race, the average speed was very high for this time of a year. My bike computer was showing an average speed of 37 km/h. Very impressive, especially when you consider there were lots of guys in their 50s and 60s (like me)! Although the weather was nice, the high pace made this ride feel more like a race, and by the end of it everybody was exhausted. But I didn’t hear anyone complaining. It appears, speed is in cyclist blood, and people were smiling and having fun. They all had their own stories about the ride and were happily sharing them with whom ever wanted to listen…

Alex Stieda was the strongest and most aggressive rider

There was no sprint at the finish… instead they were all smiling after another successful ‘Harvest Ride’.

These two ‘old farts’, Zdenko and Peter, finished in the first group of 13 riders at the ‘Roger’s Harvest Ride’ on Sunday… out of 250 cyclists who attended this event! Pictured here with Alex Stieda.

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 thanks everyone who showed up!
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 14th 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.

A little post-ride fellowship, with a meal courtesy of Velocity Cycle shop and Calvin Berube.

After the finish… it’s all over until next year!

After the ride riders were thirsty and tired…

All these pictures were taken by me, many taken from my bike during the ride. Yes, I can actually do this, riding with one hand on the handlebar and camera in the other. Hope you enjoyed them…

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

Please Note!
In addition to having a representative of the Alberta Cancer Foundation onsite at the ride to collect donations for melanoma research, you can also make a donation online through the Alberta Cancer Foundation here. Thanks!

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2 comments to “Roger’s Harvest ride 2012”

  1. Comment by Tiffany:

    Thanks for another informative blog. II think we don’t have enough this type of events. Love cycling!! Love your blog… where else may I be getting this type of info written in such a perfect way? Awesome pictures!! Keep on with good work… I’ll keep coming back!

  2. Comment by Brandy:

    Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however this time I wish to say that this write-up forced me to check it out and read it! Your writing taste has been amazed! It is kind of strange to have this many cyclist in Edmonton… don’t you always have cold weather and lots of snow?
    Thanks, congrats on very good article!

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