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Original Posse

In July 2007, despite torrential rains and hurricane winds, 7 riders of the 1st Annual Trepassey Posse hit the road. The brainchild of David Cooper from the Nautilus Running Club, the Posse started as a training ride for that year's Tour de Shore ... scroll down for the story from The Independent.

Glenn Smith, Jenny Harris, Tim Turner (Support), Ann Chafe, Caroline McIlroy, Jeff Glynn, David Cooper, Randy Knight. Missing From Photo: Edna Burge (Support)

Original Trepassey Posse

In 2008 there were 11 riders and in 2009 there were 33!

The ride has flourished into an annual event serving as great training for those with 70.3 or Ironman ambitions, or simply a fun challenge for anyone wanting to try a couple of days in the saddle.

The Independent
Friday, July 06, 2007

By John Rieti

The Independent

Motorists using the Irish Loop this weekend should be on the lookout for a pack of bikers. Except these bikers are more lean than mean, prefer spandex to leather and ride on extremely skinny tires.

The Trepassey Posse, a name the cycling group came up with “on the fly,” will make the two-day, 312-kilometre ride from St. John’s to Trepassey and back this weekend (July 7-8).

For cyclist Glenn Smith, the trip that began as a fun outing has become a training session for the half-Ironman triathlon scheduled for July 29 in Corner Brook, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s biggest road bike race, the Tour de Shore, planned for Sept. 1-2.

“All it is for us is fun, this is not a serious ride by any means, but it will be trying certainly,” Smith tells The Independent.

Dave Cooper and Jenny Harris, a cycling couple who travelled across India on their bikes, came up with the idea and persuaded some other members of the Nautilus Running Club to come along for the spin. Among their peloton (main pack of cyclists) is Bob Banfield, a school teacher who biked across Canada, Kevin Purchase, a bodybuilder, and Caroline McIlroy, one of the province’s best runners.

“We’re basically runners at heart, but in the last few years a lot of people in our club have been adding cycling and swimming to their training … you’re more prone to injury if you don’t mix it up a little,” says Smith.

The posse won’t be racing this weekend, but several members are planning to compete in this year’s Tour de Shore.

The weekend warriors will be in for some stiff competition from defending champion Zachery Garland.

Garland, 21, is currently living in B.C. where he is doing an engineering work term and racing semi-professionally for the Masi-Adobe team with four other cyclists.

He’s gearing up for the national championships, which are scheduled for this weekend in Quebec. When asked about his chances Garland replies: “Out of five stars I’ll give myself four stars,” with a laugh.

Garland first picked up a road bike in 2002 to supplement his mountain bike training, but after an Atlantic training camp and racing in a six-day, 650-kilometre Junior World Cup event at age 17 he was hooked.

Since then, he has been named to the national team, competed in Italy and Switzerland, and moved to Belgium by himself for a spring just to race with the world’s best.

“Belgium is like the world capital of cycling, it’s similar to hockey in Canada, all the old women know the cyclists and what’s going on,” says Garland.

Currently he’s debating whether or not to turn professional. Last year he received some small offers to join teams with the incentive of free gear and travel, but he turned them down to focus on school.

“This year I’m a little bit better … I’ve got offers to get a salary and take a year off school, I’m still leaning toward the school thing but that could change in a month,” says Garland.

He’s positive he’ll be home to race the Tour De Shore. “It’s absolutely amazing,” he says.

Garland was hoping to race against Roland Greene, a former world champion cyclist who recently moved from B.C. to Bay Bulls.

However, when contacted by The Independent Greene — whose poster hangs on Garland’s wall — said he’s not racing this year, but is hoping to help out with the event.

The inaugural Tour received great reviews from the 80 cyclists who competed, was voted race of the year in Atlantic Pedaler magazine and named host of this year’s Atlantic cycling championships.

The two-day, three-stage race runs from Riverhead, Harbour Grace to Ferryland; Cape Broyle to Goulds; and has a time trial on Doyle’s Road as its final event.

Tour organizer Shannon Sullivan expects 200 riders this year and says the event will also give amateur riders a chance to challenge themselves on the slopes of the southern shore highway.

The Celtic Business Development Corporation founded the race with the goals of promoting business in the Irish Loop area and encouraging people to make the healthy decision to ride their bikes more.

Sullivan says there has already been a “significant economic spinoff” from the event as a B.C.-based cyclist is now bringing groups to the province to cycle around the Avalon Peninsula.