More than 3,200 athletes took part in the 55+ BC Games in Port Coquitlam from September 20 to 24 this year. One of them was Ashcroft’s Frank Mierau, who competed in the three 85+ bike events, and brought home three silver medals for his efforts.
“There were only three people in the category, so everyone got a medal,” he says with a laugh. They competed in a time trial (15km), a long distance event (37km), and a hill climb (2.7km). “There were some pretty steep hills, and the hill climb was a steady uphill. It was a pretty demanding run.”
Mierau says he did not become a keen cyclist until he retired in late 1994, after 42 years as a truck driver. In 1995 he won a B.C. award for safe driving through Arrow Transportation, his long-time employer, and used the $300 award to purchase his first 18-speed bicycle.
“I knew how to ride a bike, but didn’t do much riding before I retired. I didn’t find the time. But I’d always wanted to ride, and wanted an 18-speed bike, as I’d never had a good one.”
He never saw himself competing in the 55+ BC Games, but began doing long distance rides for the annual Bike for Bibles event, sponsored by the Canadian Bible Society (CBS). Riders bike approximately 700km over the course of the six day event, raising money to help the CBS distribute and translate the Bible.
“That was my first experience of long distance biking,” says Mierau. Then, in 2013, he decided to take part in his first 55+ BC Games. He marked out a route along Highway 1 south from Ashcroft Manor and used it to train on.
His usual route now is an 18km circle from Ashcroft to Highway 1 at the Manor, then north to Boston Flats and back into Ashcroft along Highway 97C. “It’s a nice evening’s ride,” he says, and one that he can accomplish in 45 minutes to an hour.
However, he also makes occasional rides from Ashcroft to Spences Bridge, Clinton, Savona, and even Kamloops, to keep in shape.
“From Ashcroft to Savona or Clinton is a 100km round trip. That’s a perfect run.”
This year’s games were Mierau’s fourth, but he says he’ll have to miss next year’s event in Vernon. “I’m going to Italy, and have a wedding to attend. But I’ve got my sights set on 2018.”