There’s hard core, and then there is our director of facilities, Allan Knibbs. Allan has been featured twice before on this blog for his epic endurance bike races. Already this year, he has managed to outdo his own previous accomplishments.
Allan’s race season kicked off with him taking part in the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Race for the second consecutive year. This unsupported race covers 693 miles (1115 km!), mostly off-road, from the Pacific Ocean to the Washington, Idaho border. As an unsupported race, competitors carry their own supplies, rely on GPS for navigation, and catch whatever sleep they can in a light sleeping bag under the stars.
“The course changed a little this year,” Allan says. “There was more single track [mountain biking] which made it a little more fun and a little more interesting.”
From the start, Allan was in a tight race with a duo on a tandem bike with the lead bouncing back and forth between them throughout. With specific goals in mind for each day, based on his experience on the course the previous year, Allan slept no more than 3 hours each night and kept his pit stops few and far between. Though his primary goal was only to improve his time from last year while still taking the time to really take in the sights and the experience more than he had the first time around, in the end it was Allan who crossed the finish line first in the small community of Tekoa, Washington.
If winning such a grueling event isn’t impressive enough, Allan’s finishing time of 4 days, 13 hours and 3 minutes was over 23 hours faster than his time from the previous year – and set a course record!
Always humble, Allan takes the win in stride. “It is a good feeling to win, for sure,” he says. “It was nice that the tandem team wasn’t that far behind me so we were able to celebrate together and with the finish line changed to Tekoa, people were able to gather in the park there to cheer us on.”
When reflecting on the experience, Allan is particularly appreciative of the support of his College of the Rockies colleagues, many of whom were watching his progress online and sending him messages of encouragement at all hours. “That helps in the high times and especially during the low times,” he adds. “I’m very appreciative of the support on the course and the excitement people expressed when I returned to work.”
His colleagues will have further reason to cheer Allan on this year, he plans to take part in two more off-road, unsupported races: the BC Epic (1043 km) from Merritt to Fernie in June and the Buckshot 2018 (a 584 km loop) in Kamloops over the Labour Day long weekend.
Best of luck to you, Allan.
PHOTO: Allan during a brief rest on the Cross-Washington Bike Race.