January 26/06 8:05 am - Blizzard History (Part 4)
Posted by Editoress on 01/26/06
Blizzard Bike Club History, Part 4 - 1985
A tiny little town on the Alaska Highway has a large and sucessful bike club. As told by club old-timer Pat Ferris.
Formal attire is not unusual, except when sported by a number of road bike riders, in the snow, on January1! Welcome to the first New Years Day Ride, Blizzard Bicycle Club style.
Tim Ferris and Jim Peltier started this unusual event which included riders turning out with Harris tweeds and English caps. Seven riders started out under -15 degree temperatures on road bikes. After some press ganging other riders who tried to sleep in, the number grew to nine. They all ended up at Bill Scott and Andre Vietinghoffs' house for food and an aprÃ¨s party.
Olympic and National Cycling Team coach Barry Lycett came to Fort St. John to give a 2-day cycling seminar, in February. He put on an excellent cycling seminar as well as did interviews with the local radio and newspapers. He came for repeat performance in November.
The big news for the locals was the opportunity to try out for the Ras Tealteann UCI stage race, in Ireland(Eire). Twelve Blizzard riders put their names in for the tough twelve-stage, 8 day, and 1500 hundred km. event. The team of four Blizzard riders will go in July, 1986. Derek Carroll will pick the team as well as go as team manager.
The A & W Challenge Cup was up for grabs, again. Fifteen Blizzards traveled for this one. This time it was Tim Ferris winning the 'Old Fort' races in Prince George and getting 2 stage wins with Pat Ferris in second place, overall and Bill Scott in 5th in front of a field of 52 riders.
Future National team rider Olav Stana won the 'Coca Cola Classic' weekend, in Fort St. John, with a time trial and road race win. Pat Ferris was third but retained the A & W Challenge Cup for a second year. Tim Ferris ended up third despite having a nasty criterium crash and losing a fair amount of skin off his butt!
The next stop was a Canada Cup race in Edmonton. Provincial teams were present including and numerous fast riders such Brian Walton, Peter Toth, Bruce Spicer, Richard Streadwick and National Champ Gervais Rioux.
Ten Blizzards went to Nanaimo for the BC Summer Games, in August. They came back with 14 medals, putting on a very good performance that surprised the 'southerners'.
The first local mountain bike race was initiated, called the 'Fat Tire Follies'. Mountain biking was still fairly new, then.
1985 was the first year for the 'Northern Time Trial Championships', the forerunner of the S & S Turbines Championship. This was the first year of Jeff Wright's domination of all Blizzard timed events with Debbie Johnson equally impressive for the women. The Blizzard team of Jeff Wright, Pat & Tim Ferris and Bill Scott won the 4 rider team time trial.
Dawson Creek put on a stage race in September. It had a criterium as well as the first edition of the Peace River Road Championships. Pat Ferris edged out Ray Kim to win the 93 mile road race in a hail storm. The surprise was third spot, Debbie Johnson, a junior girl on the podium. Ray Kim won the criterium, next day.
Coming up: The Blizzard Team gets severely tested at the Ras Tealteann, next year.