On Sept. 18 the Interior Grasslands Cycling Club will hold the sixth annual prestigious hill climb bicycle race, known as Race to the Sun. The course will climb 3000 vertical feet as it winds from Heffley Creek, through the scenic ranch communities of Sun Peaks Road, finally ending at Sun Peaks Resort. Sponsored by Nancy Greene Raine and Al Raine, the event has been gaining popularity over the last few years.
“It’s not a speed race,” said organizer Peter Bartel. “It’s all about endurance. A hill climb is normally part of a multi-stage race, like a grand tour, but having this race be just a climb makes it attractive enough that a lot of people really come out for the challenge.”
This year there’s also another shining beacon to attract competitors— a $3,000 prize list, to be split among the top competitors in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
There are three divisions: leisure, intermediate and elite. The staged starts is a popular feature taken up by the race so everyone finishes around the same time.
“This way the elites aren’t done and the leisure’s group doesn’t have to miss the prizes and all the post-race fun,” Bartel explained.
With a current record of one hour and 40 minutes held by Olaf Stana, which is sure to be the same time that most of people bike down the hill, there’s a great deal of excitement to see what times this year’s crowd can accomplish.
If you’d like to test your mettle against the best riders in the province go to http://ccnbikes.com/ to register, or if you’re interested in volunteering