Participants in the 24th annual Tour de Cariboo prepare to embark on a riding journey from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake.

Participants in the 24th annual Tour de Cariboo prepare to embark on a riding journey from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake.

24th annual Tour de Cariboo rides for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Riders depart from the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex on a 75-kilometre scenic journey from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake.

Riders in the 24th annual Tour de Cariboo didn’t let Saturday afternoon’s wild hail and rain storm dampen their spirits.

The group of 43 participants, who embarked on either a 76- or a newly-implemented 100-kilometre scenic bike ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake, helped Williams Lake Big Brothers Big Sisters raise $23,000 for its multiple community-based programs in the city.

“We’re happy with everything,” WLBBBS executive director Melissa Newberry said. “It was one of our lower riderships but in the bigger picture any amount raised by any event we do we’re really, really, happy with.”

Prior to the race at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett wished the riders well and thanked them for their dedication to helping youth in the community.

Once at Gavin Lake riders enjoyed a day of entertainment from the Big Lake Symphony, rest, relaxation, a delicious meal and socializing.

Newberry thanked the some 35 volunteers who she said helped make the event possible.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “An event like this takes quite a number of volunteers.”

Around 3:30 p.m. Saturday the skies unleashed one of the most torrential hail storms of the summer, which Newberry said made it interesting for some of the riders.

“I think some of them missed it completely, some of them got pieces of it and the last group got a pretty nasty dump of rain,” she said.

This year’s Tour de Cariboo offered families a chance to participate as part of a relay team with kids as young as 12 years old participating.

“An interesting thing to note: Holden Ratcliff rode 46 kilometres and he’s just 12 years old,” Newberry said.

“He just wouldn’t give up.”

Other riders, meanwhile, tested their endurance competing for fast times in the event.

On the women’s side it was Ann Carter boasting the fastest time of the day in three hours and 22 minutes in the women’s plus 50 division. Jan Schmid was second (3:47) and Darcy Lazzarin and Betty Donahue tied for third (4:54).

In the women’s under 50 division Jenny Howell posted the top time in three hours and 33 minutes, followed by Jenna Brink (3:47) and Janet Weyl (5:13).

Ken Brown claimed the title in the men’s 50 plus category in three hours and 28 minutes, with Gerald Ryan cashing in second (4:06) and Karl Schiemann placing third (4:52).

In the men’s under 50 division Matthew Bayliff was first (5:13) and Wilfred Aksidan was second (5:31).

Erik Seifert was the fastest man in the 100-kilometre course in four hours and three minutes, while Jody Funk crossed the finish line in the women’s 100-kilometre event in four hours and 26 minutes.

The highest fundraiser was Gerald Ryan with $4,286. For his efforts he won a flight for two from Pacific Coastal and tickets to Massey Theatre.

The second-highest fundraiser was Darcy Lazzarin with $2,185, who received a two-night stay at Chaunigan Lake Lodge.

In third was Ivor McMahen, who raised $1,375 and received a Big O Tires gift card.

The following are the top fundraisers for the Tour de Cariboo:

4.) Karl Schiemann: $1,100

5.) Jenna Brink: $735

6.) Elizabeth Bayliff: $700

7.) Betty Donahue: $691

8.) Ann Carter: $650

9.) Jan Schmid: $642.50

10.) Linda Ratcliff: $620

11.) Ann Smith: $500

Now, Newberry has her sights set on organizing next year’s 25th annual Tour de Cariboo — a milestone for WLBBBS.

“It will be a huge one,” she said.

“We’re hoping we’ll see riders who we’ve had in the past come back to celebrate it with us.”

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