Cross-Washington Adventure

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Image shows man wearing helmet standing on dirt road with a muddy mountain bike.

Our facilities manager, Allan Knibbs, was at it again.  You may recall our story from last year when Allan Knibbs took part in an epic 1043km bike race across South Central BC.

This year, Allan was off to Washington State to take part in the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Race. Dubbed a scenic adventure for the mind, body and soul, the Cross-Washington race consisted of a 683 mile (1099 km!) mostly off-road route from the Pacific Ocean to the Washington/Idaho border.

Twenty-two bikers took part in the race which started at 7:00 am on May 14th – and in the end, Allan finished third!  Amazing.

Though the Cross-Washington kicked off with a group start – referred to as the Grand Depart – with all competitors departing together, every rider was responsible for their own route finding, safety and schedule. There would be many hours when Allan would not see another rider.

Allan traversed singletrack, dirt roads and a bit of pavement, climbing a total of 50,000 feet (15240 metres), taking in the beautiful and extremely diverse terrain along the way. Using only his GPS as navigation and carrying all his supplies himself, Allan completed the self-supported race in 5 days, 12 hours and 46 minutes.

Most of that time saw Allan putting in an astounding 20 hours of riding – a pace he needed to keep to stay at the front of the pack. He slept only about 2 hours a night – in a light sleeping bag and over-bag (no tent) wherever he could find a dry spot to curl up on. The other 2 hours of the day were filled with food and rest breaks.

Though the state of Washington provided some amazing scenery and phenomenal landscape changes, there were many climate-related issues the riders faced. The race began in a rainforest where the riders coped with both rain and snow. They then passed through an urban setting in the Seattle suburbs, met by more rain before heading up the Snoqualmie Pass into snow, and more rain. The riders got a break from rain and snow in the Eastern portion of Washington, but instead were faced with unrelenting heat as they passed through arid dry desert conditions and flat farmland with no escape from the sun.

As the finish line loomed, Allan passed through the small town of Tekoa, Washington and was pleased to be greeted by a group of people cheering on riders as they finished. “I was just happy to see people at that point,” Allan says. The best reward was having his wife, Athena, waiting for him at the finish line.  Three other riders completed on the same day as Allan –all within three hours of each other.  That evening a reception was held for the four of them – and somehow they were able to stay awake for it!

In the end, Allan is happy with his race. “I just wanted to finish strong. It was a bonus to have three other riders finish the same night. The feeling of comradery we share is hard to explain. It is hard to find people who want to do this type of long-distance racing. It is a great feeling to be around like-minded people,” he adds.

As for what’s next, Allan is currently considering competing in the same Epic 1000 race he did last June. For now, he’s just focusing on recovering from this race and catching up on some sleep.

You never cease to amaze us, Allan.  You make us #SmallCollegeProud

PHOTO:  Allan at the finish of the race – on the Washington/Idaho border.