By Dan Walton
An honest mistake was falsely reported as sabotage in last weeks Pioneer, says the woman accused.
Refuting claims made in last weeks article Sabotage strikes Singletrack 6, Doloris, the person at the centre of the sabotage accusation, said she had not interfered with any signage or markers, and denies intentionally misguiding cyclists. I saw a whole slew of bikes going past and I thought nothing of it, she said. Why would I?
She said that another group of cyclists then approached, and one asked for directions, to which Doloris indicated the path the other cyclists she observed had taken.
I said, All the bikes are going that way I didnt tell all of the cyclists; the rest of them just kept going past.
The Singletrack 6 route deviated from Sandy Bend Road onto a trail near where Doloris often parks, and was visibly marked for riders to see. Kim Kitching, one of the event co-ordinators, told The Pioneer those markers were doubled-checked and correctly situated the morning of the race.
Doloris said she spends recreational time with her dogs on Sandy Bend Road nearly every other day at the location of the incident. While hiking and playing fetch the day of the event, Monday, July 28th, she never noticed any signage, but witnessed a group of cyclists ride by.
Upon the arrival of Ms. Kitching and another organizer, it was discovered that about 20 racers were pedalling down the gravel road when they should have cut into a trail. The trail markings that Ms. Kitching checked on earlier in the morning were no longer in place. Taking up the concern of the organizers, Doloris said she then put her dogs in her vehicle and walked down along the course route to look for markers, but couldnt find any. She then departed.
Doloris says shes an active outdoor enthusiast and was happy to see a Singletrack 6 event staged in Invermere, but didnt know it was going on until after the commotion. Had she been aware of the race was taking place that day, she said shed have spent her morning at another location.
Though Doloris maintains she was the victim of circumstance, markers had disappeared at the site in question as well at at one other location, which, said Jonathan McLeod, media relations for Singletrack 6, couldnt have been removed by the forces of nature. Mr. McLeod also said the organization was warned beforehand to be on high alert in regards to sabotage, particularly in the area of the incident.
The directional signs that went missing were at least 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide, said Mr. McLeod, and each one was secured with three to four pins reaching six to seven inches into the ground.
Theyre the same kind of pin flags construction and road workers would use, he said.
Mr. McLeod added that the signage stayed properly in place throughout the trails and only went missing along the gravel road. It was not found, he said.