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Riders test endurance limits

Bob Koen of Coquitlam, B.C., left, and Kathy Brouse from Oakville, Ont., make last-minute adjustments to gear before heading out from the second check point, at Doole Road in Yellow Point, of the 2014 Van Isle 1200, which started at 3 a.m. Monday in Victoria. Close to 60 riders are cycling 1,200 km across the Island in less than 90 hours. - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Bob Koen of Coquitlam, B.C., left, and Kathy Brouse from Oakville, Ont., make last-minute adjustments to gear before heading out from the second check point, at Doole Road in Yellow Point, of the 2014 Van Isle 1200, which started at 3 a.m. Monday in Victoria. Close to 60 riders are cycling 1,200 km across the Island in less than 90 hours.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

A strong cyclist can ride 100 kilometres in about four hours.

More than 50 riders from across Canada, the U.S. and as far away as Japan will ride 1,200 km across Vancouver Island in fewer than 90 hours in the VanIsle  1200, a cycling marathon being hosted by the B.C. Randonneurs Cycling Club July 14-17 that starts in Victoria, follows a course to Gold River, then up to Port Hardy and back down the Island.

A randonnee or brevet is similar to a car rally, but on bicycles. Riders must cover given sections of a long-distance course within a specified time limit. Riders must hit check points within time limits.

“Generally speaking there are no designated sleep stops and I know there are a couple of guys in Victoria who are trying to go straight through,” said Mike Croy, event organizers. “One guy [Craig Lylack of Sooke] in particular is shooting for under 50 hours. Knowing him and how he’s done all the rides leading up to it is potentially quite possible. Ken Bonner [of Victoria] – he actually invented this ride eight years ago – he’s 72 and he’s probably going to go straight through.”

Bonner, nicknamed Iron Butt, has ridden more than 300,000 event kilometres in his lifetime, Croy said.

The Van Isle 1200 course with its altitude changes – riders will climb more than 10,000 metres – will challenge even the toughest most seasoned riders.

“Some of the hills to Gold River make the Malahat look pretty small,” said Graham Fishlock, of Ladysmith.

The riders will have to maintain an average 30 km/h pace to meet check point times.

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