On the November 11 weekend in 2003, Curtis Rytz, Brad Zumwalt, Kim Fuhrman and Mike Delich travelled to Marin County and the Napa Valley for a long weekend of cycling. Some were true rookies and less travelled, but all enjoyed the new sport and all the roads and groups that were riding in California.
During the early winter of 2004, while riding the chairlift for Breakfast Club and by chance while crossing Highline Drive, the chatter was about the trip and quickly went to having an event in Fernie. Since, three of the four individuals had homes on Highline, the event name was conceived. During the spring, Curtis and Brad mapped out the course. Brad and his Company, Veer, had the graphic expertise and created the Highline Brand – jerseys, signage and graphics. Brad and Curtis went with brooms along Highway 3 to remove debris and gravel from the road without shoulders on the Friday afternoon prior to the event.
The first event, with 42 riders, started on Highline Drive and went to the First & Last Chance Bar across the border in a time when Passports were not required and there were no lineups to enter the USA. There were a few diversions to the picnic area west of 3/93 to accurately gain the 100 miles of a Century Ride.
The morning snack in the early years was in Grasmere at the restaurant on Highway 93 that Susan (the cinnamon bun lady) owned. Later it moved to the lawn of her private home then to the community hall.
The lunch stop was at Saunders beach at Surveyor's Lake for several years and people like Linda Socher, Louise Ratelle, and Isabelle Wright would always swim across the lake before riding the balance of the ride.
The first Awards Celebration and Dinner for about 80 people was hosted in Snow Creek Cabin 501. Cyclists were from Fernie, Calgary, Edmonton, Spokane WA and Nelson. Curtis imported a pull pork dinner from a Cowley AB restaurant. The Owner of Fernie Brewing Co. delivered a keg of their very early vintage Griz Beer to the Cabin. All the food and drink were enjoyed during the celebration that evening. As the event grew, the party was moved to the outdoor deck at Snow Creek Lodge and then the day lodge and Griz Bar.
The hubcap award first went to Max Gartner and Jay Zammit who were almost struck by the hubcap from a passing car. The Mechanical Mayhem award is a crescent wrench which Curtis found on the side of the road just north of Grasmere during the first year ride.
In 2012 the event was re-routed so that riding on Highway #3 was eliminated. The start/finish was re-located to South Country near Baynes Lake hosted by Brad and Tanya Zumwalt. The border crossing was also eliminated as line-ups and security grew.