The TransRockies mountain-bike stage race is celebrating its 11th anniversary. Simon Parker of Bowen Island is hoping to participate for a ninth time, the only person to do so.
However, with the start date of July 28 just a few weeks away, Parker is partnerless
His initial partner for the race pulled out when he fell down a flight of stairs at his house and broke his leg.
“He now thinks he should have bought a bungalow,” joked Parker.
Parker, who turns 55 this year, is putting the call out for a new partner.
Ideally, he is looking for a male or female partner who is at least 45-years-old, or a female partner who is at least 25-years-old to take part in the seven day, 400 km race. The combined ages of Parker and his potential partner will allow them to compete in the 100-plus or 80-plus mixed categories.
However, with the race fast approaching, Parker says he is willing to expand his partner horizon.
‘I’m looking for someone with a competitive spirit. If you’ve got a reasonable level of fitness and some comfort riding single track, the rest of it is mental. You just have to keep on peddling,” said Parker in a telephone interview, adding a positive attitude and knowing a few Monty Python sketches doesn’t hurt either.
Last year’s event, which featured a three-day solo race, a four-day solo race, and the original seven-day partnered race attracted 350 riders from 20 countries around the world. The seven-day event has been described as “the hardest race in North America.”
The route sees riders spend three days around Fernie, while days four through seven have riders off in the wilderness eventually finishing in Canmore, Alta.
Parker has high praise for the event organizers.
“There are amazing trails and amazing support. The TransRockies organization is just incredible. They provide remarkable support in places with no electricity, water, cell coverage,” said Parker. “They managed to produce hot showers, fabulous food and Internet services in places with nothing. “
Aaron McConnell, president of TransRockies Inc., echoes Parkers sentiments and gives praise to the approximate 80 volunteers that help keep the event going.
“Events like this wouldn’t be possible without volunteers and there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into the event,” said McConnell. “Volunteers are crucial.”
Parker says he counts the three days of riding through Fernie as his favourite during the seven-day event.
“The welcome we get in Fernie, the hospitality and the support has always been spectacular,” said Parker. “The people are so friendly, so accommodating. I couldn’t imagine the TransRockies without Fernie,” exclaimed Parker.
The 54 year old says he has no plans of slowing down. “I have a four-year-old daughter and I plan on racing with her in 2023. So far she thinks riding her bike with daddy is a pretty good idea,” said Parker.
Parker wants to emphasize that everyone who has taken part in the event had, at one point, never done it.
“If you think you can do it, you probably can,” said Parker. “It will be an experience you will tell your grandchildren about.”
Readers who would like to be Parker’s partner can reach him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.