Cannondale's Oktoberfest with Tim Johnson
UPDATE: Stephen Rockwood completed the challenge on Saturday November 3rd with a total time of 61 hours and 38 minutes. He was the first Canadian to complete the challenge and was #9 worldwide at the time of completion. Thomas Flannery still has 8.5 more hours to go.
In honor of this year's rigorous cross season; our friends over at Strava in allegiance with Cannondale have conceived the Oktoberfest with Tim Johnson. Two brave employees from the shop, Thomas Flannery and Stephen Rockwood, have made the sacrifice to tackle the challenge. They are the only two riders in Newfoundland to even attempt this ridiculous challenge. Is it bravery or stupidity? Call it what you want... it's no doubt a monumental endeavor.
The objective is to rack up 60 gritty hours in the saddle from Oktober 20th to Movember 10th. Do the math and that's 60 hours in three weeks, or almost three hours a day... every day.
Why would anyone undertake this challenge you say? Chances are Steve and Tom are mentally retarded. First off you get the glory and admiration of your peers, which is well deserved riding in the current weather. But most importantly, finishers will be awarded a CUSTOM CANNONDALE BEER STEIN. The details of said "stein" have been sketchy at best. But chances are if it's from Cannondale; it will be highly pro. Plus it is custom! That means everyone who sees the glorious stein will know the name of the Hardman who earned it, and is required to buy them a drink.
The marathon is often the poster-child for endurance events, but this challenge brings new meaning to the term marathon. It demands roughly one marathon a day for 21 long, wet, gritty, frigid, and Newfoundland RDF inspired days. Combine this with a busy school/ work schedule, which Tom and Steve both have, and you're left with a seemingly impossible challenge. So far Tom and Steve, let's call them "The Hardmen" for short, have been cranking down everyday day and night to keep up the hours. As of today, Tom is at 35 hours 58 minutes, and Steve is at a whopping 49 hours and 24 minutes. The Hardmen are on track to finish in time. Steve will likely be the top finisher in Canada!
The Hardmen have traveled the entire expanse of the Northeastern Avalon in search of those 60 hours. So far they have been as far South as Chapel Cove and as far North as the tip of Pouch cove. Weather conditions have been generally shitty during the challenge. There have been reports of night rides in hurricane conditions... sketchy. Steve was blown off his bike at one point. Tom says his feet are halfway becoming mushrooms; and Steve is concerned about getting trench-foot. With nearly 1600 kms between them; chances are you have seen them at some point.
So if you see two turbo-nutters on road bikes grinding up Shea Heights in all sorts of terrible weather, then it's probably The Hardmen. Be sure to give them a friendly wave and a brisk motor-pace; they could use the help. When the challenge is said and done and the steins have been received there will be many festivities. There will be much stein filling and possibly fireworks; run and tell that, homeboy!
Tim Johnson, the posterboy for the challenge, has been stranded in Europe by hurricane Sandy and likely won't complete the challenge. Isn't that sad?
The stein of glory that awaits the winners