LABRADOR WEST, N.L.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
A group of four professional racing cyclists left Labrador West on Sunday, Aug. 26, for an adventure that certainly is not for the faint of heart.
The four, Angus Morton formerly of Australia now living in Denver Colorado, Sami Sauri of Barcelona now living in Berlin, Jacob Rathe of Portland Oregon and Dan Craven of Namibia, have awards and accomplishments that would fill volumes.
Google each of them and you will see what they’ve been up to for the past number of years; competitions, awards and more miles than anyone could ever imagine on a bike.
They teamed up with Destination Labrador and the province’s Department of Tourism, to highlight cycling in this province.
Morton, a retired professional is now a filmmaker based out of Denver. He last rode for Jelly Belly Maxiis, and joined team specialized for the red hook criterion series.
He contacted Destination Labrador with the planned project to bike the trans Labrador highway from Western Labrador, then cross to the Northern Peninsula and ride to Port Aux Basques.
Sorensen and Craven will end the tour there but Morton and Sauri will continue the adventure by completing the loop through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec, aiming to arrive back in Labrador west around Sept. 23.
Along with the group is cinematographer Nate Sorensen and producer Matt Bowne.
Morton’s work can be seen at www.thereabouts.com.au
Morton tells the Aurora, “It was during a trip to the Chicoutimi area of Quebec for a cycling event. I saw the map and the road that went to Labrador and then crossed that, and the idea hit me. It took about a year to plan but now it’s happening.”
Most the group arrived last Friday, and on Saturday were hosted by the Gateway Centre. “There was an opportunity to find out more about the area, and meet local people,” explains Sarah Halliday of the Gateway Centre In Labrador West.
One of the cyclists, Sami Sauri, had lots of questions about things like bears and mosquitos, and about the layout of the route.
“I did Route 66 in April and I had some problems with my knee, but I’m looking forward to this,” she says.
Rathe told the Aurora you have to be resilient on a trip like this, and working together with this team will be quite the experience.
Dan Craven from Namibia joined the group on Sunday. He had just completed an event in Scotland. He pointed out,” This is different this is not a race, it’s an adventure.”
The group, for the most part, will be camping along the way and all are looking forward to the scenery and the adventure as they cross the big land and move onto the island.
All are hoping for the experience of a lifetime, a chance to maybe see the Northern Lights and, of course, meet with locals.
The group left Sept. 26 and three enthusiastic local cyclists, Jen Jennings, Ruth Corbett and Ken Manstan, rode along with them for the first 20 kilometers or so.
“It was great to meet them and to ride with professionals.”
Destination Labrador, along with Quebec, has branded a route “Expedition 51."
The route is 1,700 km long and takes about 26 hours to drive. It includes roads, and highways 389, 500, 510 and part of 138, as well as the northern circuit which spans from Baie-Comeau, QC to Blanc-Sablon, QC.
The expedition will be featured in Morton’s upcoming documentary.
Randy Letto, executive director of Destination Labrador, says they are pleased to partner with this group and to promote cycling.
He says they did something similar with motorcycles several years ago and the result has been increased awareness of the opportunities to motorcycle in Labrador.
According to Letto, when he did a recent drive of the trans Labrador highway, he encountered a number of motor cycle groups.