Considered a mountain biking legend and advocate by many in the community, Williams Lake’s Mark Savard has been nominated for this year’s Fifth Annual Kazlaw Mountain Biking Community Award in recognition of his volunteer efforts.
Savard, often called Shreddie, has been developing the bike scene in B.C.’s Interior for 26 years when he opened Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed in Williams Lake.
“Shreddie is too modest to admit it but he showed that it’s possible for a bike, snowboard and windsurf bum to dream of opening an outdoor recreational shop in a resource community,” said Thomas Schoen, president/chair of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium and director with the Williams Lake Cycling Club. “It’s also possible for that ‘bum’ to become a successful businessman and a pillar of the community.”
For more than a decade Williams Lake has been one of the rare Interior communities with workable bike maps, while locals are known to be pioneers in exploring the Chilcotin via bike.
Since, a strong mountain bike community has emerged around a shared passion for riding and, perhaps, more importantly, building to create and maintain a diverse network of trails in Williams Lake, as well as other areas of the Cariboo including 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Wells.
According to local pro mountain biker James Doerfling, some of his success has to be contributed to the tutelage of Savard.
“I started out in elementary school as one of those little punks that hung around Red Shred’s,” Doerfling said. “Then Shreddie got me a job down there. I just grew up around there sweeping floors, then eventually wrenching on bikes and kind of made my way into the industry through the shop. Mark was a big help and gave me a lot of good advice.”
More recently, the creation of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium, a network of professionals dedicated to supporting mountain biking tourism in the region, is pushing to make this area a mountain bike destination.
“Mark’s passion goes beyond biking,” Schoen said. “He is an avalanche expert, a trail builder, a mountaineer, a back-country skier, an avid paddler, a windsurfer and an ice climber. He’s organized too many events to list – the Unlikely Paddlefest is just one of them. Without doubt, B.C.’s mountain bike community would not be what it is today without Shreddie.”
During the past 25 years Savard has accumulated more than 14,000 volunteer hours including past and present positions with the Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association, the WLCC, the CMBC, the Mountain Bike Tourism Association of BC, the Chamber of Commerce, the Chimney/Felker Lake Landowners Association, the Business Improvement Association, Sprockids/Boys and Girls Club, the Williams Lake Cross-Country Ski Club and Mt. Timothy Ski Area.
Voting is available online until March 13 here: http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/bcbikerace/kazlaw-award-2015/.