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Mission accomplished for memorial ride

Participants raise funds for emergency equipment

Although it’s doubtful that anything could have been done to save Ken Quon’s life, his legacy in Whistler could save the lives of countless others.

As his friends, fellow mountain bikers and co-workers learned at the first annual Ken Quon Memorial Ride On Sunday, Aug. 20, his memory has already helped to save at least one person.

Last September Quon died of an undetected congenital heart defect while helping to guide the weekly Wild Willies Ride. Since then members of his family have had themselves tested for the same condition, and his niece discovered she was also at risk and took steps to address the issue.

The memorial race and ride, which started and finished at Riverside Campground, raised funds for a new piece of portable diagnostic equipment for Whistler’s emergency services.

Tom Thomson can’t say exactly how much was raised from the race and ride, beer garden, raffles, prize draw, 50-50 draw and silent auction but he is quite pleased with the turnout and community support.

"Our goal was to be able to achieve the purchase of this particular unit, maybe with a few bells and whistles to go with it, and we have achieved that," he said. "Racers and riders got to pay their respects to Ken, and enjoy a nice Sunday ride."

Thomson and the other event organizers consulted with Whistler Fire Services and the local ambulance service to find out what equipment they need, and they chose a portable diagnostic system that measures heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs in real time, and that can be used for rescuing injured cyclists, hikers, runners and other backcountry users. Additionally, the same diagnostic system can be used for everybody, from newborns to the elderly, without any modification.

The only drawback of the ride, says Thomson, was the fact that it conflicted with the Slow Food Cycle in Pemberton. Thomson says that was a mistake, and that the second annual race will take place a week earlier next year, Aug. 12, so there won’t be a conflict.

"Other than that the day was absolutely perfect, the weather was perfect, the course was great – Chris Clark and Sylvie Allen won the race – and the après was wonderful," said Thomson.

Thomson thanks Whistler Fire Services and the IGA for their help putting on the event, as well as co-organizers Francis and Anne Chiasson who helped get the draw prizes and silent auction items togther.

The prizes ranged from box seats to a Canucks game, to restaurant vouchers, to a spot in this year’s Samurai of Singletrack, which went for $410. "We found out later that we could have sold another three of them for that price," said Thomson.

The après race festivities included a beer tent, barbecue, and a series of contests from horseshoes with bike sprockets to a 20-foot stunt built by Eric Barry that was challenging for kids and adults. In the elimination contest, junior rider Tyler Allison went head to head with Larry Falcon and came out on top.

Organizers would like to thanks all the locals and local businesses that donated prizes to the event, as well as IGA for supplying the food and refreshments. As well, Thomson thanked the over 40 volunteers who helped out as course marshals or organized the barbecue.