Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Can-Am Challenge - Something for You?

The Can-Am Challenge is an award earned by finishing a Canadian and a US 1200km-or-longer Randonneurs Mondiaux sanctioned Grand Randonnée in a single calendar year.

History - The award started as a cooperative initiative between Réal Préfontaine (vice president of Randonneurs Mondiaux at the time) and Jennifer Wise, RM president and Boston-Montréal-Boston event director, as a way to promote 1200k’s in North America, build a sense of community, and give an added challenge to “overachieving” randonneurs. 

The original Can-Am commemorative pin:
The inspiration for the award came in 1997, when Dr. Préfontaine had succeeded in his self-imposed challenge of finishing both the Rocky Mountain 1200 and BMB, as he described in a 2006 article in American Randonneur. 
At that time, there were only two 1200k’s in North America: BMB, begun in 1988, and the RM1200, begun in 1996.  And riding more than one 1200k in a year - much less a month apart - seemed exceptional to say the least. 

Now, of course, there are multiple Canadian and US 1200k’s, and multiple riders who succeed at two or more 1200k’s in a single year.  So the Can-Am Challenge can be seen as a harbinger of increased aspirations both on the part of event organizers and riders in the ensuing years.
The new 2012 medal design:

This year in Canada, the BC Randonneurs is organizing the Rocky Mountain 1200, while the US offers the Shenandoah, Cascade, Colorado High Country, Taste of Carolina, and Colorado Last Chance.


You can see further details on the BC Randonneurs website, and soon on the RUSA site.  Thanks, by the way, to RM1200 co-director Ali Holt, who designed the new medal.  Ali was also the graphic artist for our High Country 1200 jersey and medal.

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