August 1, 2006 (Atikokan, Ontario) – Halfway to Halifax, the leading solo rider on The Crossing, Geert de Cock of Belgium, has averaged 32.73 km per hour over 3,213 kilometres since leaving Vancouver. His elapsed time for the distance is 98 hours, 37 minutes (4 days, 2 hours, 27 minutes).
The Crossing is a timed cross-Canada ride for solo cyclists or two-member teams. Over 36 days of riding, riders cover 6,532 kilometres with a daily average distance of 181 kilometres. There are nine days of more than 200 kilometres in the schedule.
Drafting is not permitted and the performance of solo riders on such a long course is extraordinary. For individual times, go to http://www.cyclecanada.com/TheCrossing/RidersTimes.html
In miles the distance for the first half of the ride is 1,998 and the daily average distance is 111 miles. Total miles from Vancouver to Halifax is 4,060.
Over the first 18 days of the ride, de Cock’s daily average speed has been above 30 km per hour on all but two days.
The pace set by de Cock is closely followed by Gerry Dunsmore of Vancouver with a daily average of 32.21 km per hour and an elapsed time of 100 hours, 44 minutes (4 days, 44 hours, 44 minutes).
During the first half of the course, riders have had generally favorable weather conditions Ë† generally moderate daytime temperatures through British Columbia and Alberta but increasingly warm through the rest of the Prairies and into northern Ontario.
The route so far has gone through the Coast Mountains of British Columbia to Merritt and then into the Rocky Mountains at Jasper. From there, riders traveled the Icefields Parkway to Saskatchewan River Crossing and then through the Alberta foothills to the Prairies. They passed through Saskatoon and the interlake district of Manitoba to reach Ontario and a mid-point rest day at Atikokan.
From there, the route goes along Lake Superior to Nipigon and then the large central north plain towards Cochrane and New Liskeard. Then they mainly follow the Ottawa, St. Lawrence and Saint John Rivers to go through Quebec and New Brunswick. Past Moncton, New Brunswick, the route goes past the Fundy coast and then overland to Halifax.
The first riding day was July 11 and riders end at Citadel Hill in Halifax on August 20. Tuesdays through Sundays are riding days and every Monday is a rest day.
The Order of Merrit
For The Crossing, Cycle Canada is implementing a distinction called The Order of Merritt to recognize hill climbing ability on the Vancouver-to-Halifax ride.
During the 36-day ride schedule there are five difficult climb days and Merritt, British Columbia is the destination on the first of those five climb days.
The Order of Merritt goes to the rider with the best combined time for those five days.
Climbs are in five unique mountainous features of the continent. Summary details of those days are as follows:
– Hope to Merritt in British Columbia; 111 kilometres (68 miles); climbing to the Coquihalla Pass through the Coast Mountains. This is the second day of riding and the shortest day in the 36-day schedule. The first two days of the ride are warm-up days and daily distances jump to Imperial-century-plus after those two days.
– Jasper to Saskatchewan River Crossing in Alberta; 193 kilometres (119 miles); climbing along the spine of the Rocky Mountains and over Sunwapta Pass. The ride into Jasper from British Columbia goes over a pass that is by far the easiest route through the Canadian Rockies. Leaving Jasper, riders are on the Icefields Parkway and this is a tough climbing day pas several mountain peaks and a collection of glaciers.
– New Liskeard to Mattawa and Mattawa to Cobden; two consecutive days in the Canadian Shield and the western fringe of the Laurentian Mountains; to Mattawa it is 219 kilometres (135 miles) and to Cobden it is 190 (117 miles). The Canadian Shield and the Laurentians are marked by rugged granite formations and climbs in these areas often are quite steep because of difficult road-building conditions.
– St-Alexandre, Quebec, to Grand Falls, New Brunswick 195 kilometres (120 miles); climbing over the northern tail of the Appalachian Mountains. This day starts at the St. Lawrence River and ends where the Saint John River tumbles into a steep gorge.
Cycle Canada, The Veloforce Corporation
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