There are two distinct courses that are laid out for the 20k and 50k riders. If you are reading this blog, you probably aren't concerned with the 20k but we'll give you a brief course description nonetheless. The 20k course takes riders primarily through the town on bike routes and through residential areas. You will get a nice ride along Lakeshore Drive which parallels Okanagan Lake. The course is for the most part flat with one hill climb at around 15km. Alexis Park Drive is about .75km climb and can be a push for anyone lacking bike experience but the riders yesterday varied in ability and still made it without too much difficulty. There is a watering station along the beach for those who need it. The course is not marshalled and there is very little in the way of ride support. The course is open and not traffic controlled.
The 50k loop is actually closer to 55k. It is a nice ride and is popular amongst the local cycling enthusiasts. Starting from the downtown location, riders head out onto Highway 6 and then quickly turn down onto Kalamalka Lake road. Riders will pass by Kal Beach and continue on through some of Coldstream's farmland before hooking back up to Highway 6 once again. The course remains on Highway 6 for a short duration before weaving through some of the farm areas of Lavington (which is the turnaround point). On the way back, the riders are re-directed off of Highway 6 and up onto Buchanan Road. This road is light on traffic and offers some nice rollers and scenic views. Buchanan re-connects with Highway 6 which takes the participants back into town for the finish. The course does a nice job of mixing up some flats with a few short climbs and some nice rollers. The overall difficulty of the ride is moderate. It also limits the amount of highway and heavy traffic exposure. There was an aid station but it is probably not necessary for anyone riding this distance.
The event organization was very low key. This is not a huge event and the coordinating staff do a commendable job given the fact that they had no real biking experience. The start/finish of the course could be changed to avoid the downtown sector. Although the 20k loop does its best to avoid high traffic areas, it still forces the riders through a couple of sections that might make parents hesitant about bringing their children. The 50k course is very nice and easily manageable for a rider with moderate experience. The athletes were treated afterwards with some post race goodies, free pizza, and a rub down courtesy of Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy. Most importantly, this event raised some money and was only $25 to enter. Athletes could also win prizes for raising the most money through pledge sponsorship. Participants can download registration forms from their site; however, there is no online registration. Registration is primarily done day-of or through mail-in/drop-off.
WHO IS THIS EVENT GOOD FOR?
This race is a good event for experienced riders looking for a nice training day with friends while raising money for a good cause. If you live within an hour or are in town for the weekend then it is worth your while. It is also a nice event for less experienced riders or younger athletes but we wouldn't recommend it for kids under the age of 14 due to the traffic element. At $25, It's hard to beat the price. Besides, your great day on the course is also helping make someone else's life a little better.
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