As Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake prepare to host the first-ever Backwoods TRY-Athlon, spirits and attendance numbers are already high.
The brainchild of BBBS’s executive director Angela Kadar and her team, the Backwoods TRY-Athlon is the spiritual successor to the long-running Tour De Cariboo, which came to an end this time last year after 30 years of riding. Kadar said that, when planning this event, she wanted to put the focus on families and accessibility, as she felt the long bike ride of 75 km from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake had been daunting for many.
The Backwoods TRY-Athlon will start and be based around the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre and to Kadar is a good representation of both the Cariboo and the forest we all enjoy. Both the footrace and mountain biking part of the TRY-Athlon are on backwoods trails around the lake, the bike trail being 11 km and the run set at 7 km. The kayaking meanwhile, which starts off the event, is a quick 5 km paddle across Gavin Lake, itself.
Sign in for the event is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the race kicking off at 11 a.m. with a banquet ending the race off at 4 p.m. Those interested in just coming out to support competitors are welcome to take part in the banquet, Kadar said, for the price of $15, though children under 11 eat for free.
Kadar said they’re excited to be holding the event for the first time but more so due to the fact that their ridership this year has already exceeded their expectations. Due to the fact it’s a new event, she was expecting close to 20 but as of the writing this article they already have a little over 50 signed up.
“The great thing about it is we got quite a mix. We’ve got families, young members (of the community) I think we got quite a large team of firefighters doing this, so it’s kind of a team-building exercise for them. They actually rented one of our 10-man canoes so we’re super excited about that,” Kadar said.
Registration for the event is hoped to be all wrapped up by Friday, Sept. 6 but Kadar said they will be willing to accept last-minute registrations Saturday morning. They’ll have to provide their own kayak or canoe, bike and registration fee of $40, with a commitment to raise a further $75.
“We’re doing it for the kids and we’re doing it for the programs we run and we wanted an event that reflected the families we support,” Kadar said. “We’re really proud of Williams Lake for the participation we’re seeing and the support.”
At the end of the TRY-Athlon winners will be announced for several prices, including a mountain bike from Red Shreds, a two-night stay at the Wilderness Rim Lodge, two free admissions to the Butchart Gardens and a $300 certificate from United Concrete.