Cranbrook cyclist back from French endurance race

Jason de Rijk conquered the Alps in the six-day Trans-Savoie race last month

Top: Cyclist Jason de Rijk of Cranbrook surveys the French landscape on a leisurely chair lift ride up the mountain. Bottom: Heading downhill

Top: Cyclist Jason de Rijk of Cranbrook surveys the French landscape on a leisurely chair lift ride up the mountain. Bottom: Heading downhill

A Cranbrook mountain bike rider has returned from the experience of a lifetime, cycling through the French Alps in the Trans-Savoie endurance race.

Jason de Rijk, who owns Sidekick Stickers, took part in the race from August 18 to 23. The Trans-Savoie is a rally-style race where only the downhill sections are timed. The course begins in Val D’Isere, France, and passes through 13 villages to its conclusion in Chamonix.

“There was no way it could have been bad. The terrain, the people, the trails, the small French towns, the food — everything was amazing,” said de Rijk.

“It was an enduro, so you climb your bike, which is not timed, then descend your bike, which is the timed part. That’s the part that really counts.”

There were almost 80 cyclists taking part in the race, from all over the world — England, Italy, Russia, Iceland and Sweden.

“There were a whole lot of pros riding for bike manufacturers, and super good people from all over the world,” said de Rijk.

“There was everybody from these pros, riding for big companies, to the weekend warrior person.”

De Rijk has competed and placed in mountain bike competitions across western Canada and the U.S., but he was unprepared for the level of ability he was up against in the race.

“I finished about halfway through the field — I think I was 43rd out of 78,” he said, adding that his biggest challenge was trying to compete with professional cyclists.

“That was probably the most challenging: realizing there were really good people there and there was no way I was going to catch most of them,” he said.

“I had to accept that I was going to fall a little further down. As soon as I did that, it turned into a really good time.

“I was definitely pushing the limits of what I could do to try to make better times on the timed stages.”

The setting in the French alps provided plenty of ‘wow’ moments, from the scenery to the small towns the race passed through.

“The route went through small French towns where you could stop because you weren’t being timed. So you go for an espresso and baguette and hang out for five minutes, then continue your journey,” said de Rijk. “I don’t know how many baguettes I ate. By the third day, my jaw was getting sore from baguettes.”

Now that he has conquered the French Alps, de Rijk is setting his sights on an endurance race closer to home. Tour Divide is a 4,400 kilometre journey from Banff to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, held each June.

“I think I may be inspired to do the Tour Divide. There’s a poster on my wall of it now and I’ve told a couple people I’m going to do it, so I might actually need to do it,” said de Rijk.

Jason’s journey to France wouldn’t have been possible without the support of local businesses who sponsored him and provided prizes for a raffle fundraiser. De Rijk thanks Cranbrook Dodge, Favorit Cycle and Ski, High Country Sports, Max’s Place, Tim Hortons, Canadian Rockies International Airport, Snap East Kootenay, Giant and Gore Bike Wear.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read