The following two stories are first-hand accounts of last year’s Tour de Cariboo 75-kilometre bike ride. This year’s ride is being held Sept. 10, beginning at the Cariboo Memorial Complex. Anyone interested is invited to take part in this challenging ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake.
The ride features spectacular scenery, varied terrain and great fun, plus entertainment and food upon arriving at Gavin Lake.
Riders will be fully supported along the way with bike maintenance, support drivers, first aid and rest stops providing lunch and refreshments.
Jamie Tannis’s story
I had heard the ads, seen the posters and read the newspaper write-ups for the Tour de Cariboo for a few years. The tour looked intimidating and I didn’t think I could ride the 75 kilometers, or even a portion of the ride, as suggested by the website.
Last spring, a friend and I talked about trying the entire 75 km. Beth had done the tour a few years ago and said it was lots of fun. We dusted off our bikes in the spring and started riding to and from work.
I am not a very accomplished bicycle rider, but learned how to use my hand signals (my biggest accomplishment) as we bicycled to work.
Betty Donahue saw me walking with my bicycle gear one day and asked if I were going for a ride. I shared with Betty that I was thinking of finally doing the Tour De Cariboo and words of encouragement poured from Betty’s mouth.
Betty told us to practice on Chimney Lake Road, the Old Soda Creek Road and Fox Mountain. Betty said there was lots of support on the ride, people of all ages and riding ability participate in the ride, and I could do the entire ride.
With a cheering section like that, who can say no? I mentally committed to completing the ride and “encouraging” translated “harassing” some co-workers to join me. Soon Beth and I had a team of four committed to complete a section and Beth and I committed for 75 km.
Neither Beth nor I are accomplished riders and set as our goal to “finish the ride.” My other goal was I would not push my bike, but would rest when I needed, get back on and pedal. Our biking group started practicing and we all have fun stories to share. My most memorable practice ride was riding Fox Mountain, huffing and puffing and telling myself I was crazy and couldn’t do the tour.
Justin rode up the hill and back down to encourage me to make the top of the hill. I think I may have made it, but on one of Justin’s rides back towards me, Justin informed me I had two flat tires. I walked the last bit to the top.
The day of the tour arrived and I was excited, but nervous. From the moment I took my donations to the registration table until crossing the finish line, I heard nothing but encouragement. What an awesome group of volunteers and riders. Beth and I crossed the line together to cheers and the promise of a sauna and dip in the lake.
I encourage you to sign up as part of a team or for the entire ride. You will have a wonderful day, make some new friends, be encouraged and have a great dinner when you complete your ride!
Justin Tether’s story
Everyone was very supportive and welcoming at the Tour de Cariboo. Being new to town, it was nice to go out and participate in a community event and feel welcomed by everyone there.
It did not matter where you were on the 75-kilometre trek. There were stations set up to take breaks, have a chat and there were people present supporting and cheering you on.
It did not matter if you crossed the finish line first or last. There was always someone present cheering you on during the last leg of the race and until you crossed the finish line.
After the race, volunteers made a delicious buffet that was enjoyed by all. During dinner there were a few speeches and a thank you to all those volunteers who make the Tour de Cariboo possible.
I would have to encourage those individuals who have not participated in the Tour de Cariboo to do so — it is an amazing feeling to see people complete the 75-km journey.
There are many ways that someone can participate — you can decide to complete the 75-km journey by yourself or convince a few friends to ride on a team with you or volunteer.
The experience is worth the challenge.