At the time of his death Richard Juryn had planned to host a slideshow chronicling his recent mountain bike trip to Mongolia, but his friends and family will instead use the evening to celebrate the life of one of B.C.’s best known mountain bike advocates.
Juryn, 50, and Denis Fontaine, 40, died kayaking off the shores of Anvil Island in Howe Sound on Oct. 7 after high waves and winds upset their boats.
They were part of a group of eight that were training for adventure races, paddling out to Anvil Island from Porteau Cove, running to the high point on the island, and then returning to their boats to paddle back to the mainland. Both men were wearing life jackets, but neither had a wetsuit to protect against the cold water. They were in the water for more than an hour before they were picked up by a Coast Guard hovercraft and helicopters and taken to hospital. Attempts to revive them were unsuccessful.
Both men were outdoor enthusiasts with long resumes of races and adventures, and both were well known in Whistler. Juryn has helped to organize several mountain bike events here in recent years, including the Crankworx festival and the joint World Mountain Bike Conference and International Mountain Bicycling Association conference in 2006. Fontaine was a representative for Helly Hansen, and regularly took part in events in the Sea to Sky corridor. Most recently he raced in the Cheakamus Challenge.
Mayor Ken Melamed recognized the tragedy at Monday’s council meeting, and said he was a personal friend of Juryn. He worked with Juryn as a lift operator on Whistler Mountain 30 years ago, and since then they have skied and mountain biked together.
“His spirit will be missed,” said Melamed. “He was a very kind and generous man.”
Juryn’s friends and family are hosting A Night To Honour Richard Juryn, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. The event is being sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-Op and the North Shore Mountain Bike Association. There is no admission, but organizers will be accepting donations for the new Richard Juryn Memorial Fund to support his family.
The annual Halloween Loonie Race put on by the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association is also set for Oct. 25, and any money raised will be sent to the memorial fund on behalf of the association.