Though temperatures reached near 30 C Saturday, riders at this year’s 19th Annual Tour de Cariboo bike ride weren’t complaining.
“It was a feeling of exhilaration when riders reached the finish line,” said Lorraine Levitt, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Williams Lake, who host the 75-kilometre ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake as its largest fundraiser.
“A shower, massage and jump in the lake was the norm for many post ride.”
It began Saturday morning with riders meeting at the Cariboo Memorial Complex.
Following a motivational speech from School District 27 assistant superintendent Harj Manhas on the positive impacts BBBS programs have on Williams Lake students, riders embarked on their journey to Gavin Lake, stopping for lunch at Big Lake and replenishing at regular rest stops along the way.
“It was such a beautifully warm day,” Levitt said. “That had its effect on some, but all came through in the end.”
At Gavin Lake entertainment from Steve Hunter, Sam Tudor, Jay and Chelsea Goddard, Oren Barter and DJ Am Sajan was provided, and teacher, past principal and performer Mark Thiessen was the emcee for the banquet.
This year’s ride, Levitt said, raised a total of $31,811.50 — all of which stays in Williams Lake to support local children’s programming.
The top three fundraisers — Nicole Brandson ($2,405), Ivor McMahen ($1,550) and Darcy Lazzarin ($1,245) — were awarded trip packages for their efforts.
Others who raised more than $500 were also recognized for their support. Earning more than $500 for BBBS were: Annikki Egolf, Rob Taylor, Betty Donahue, Amanda Ball, Kristy Davis, Scott Mcreight, Karl Schiemann, Jen Anderson, Candice Drouini, Bryce Granger and Uli Wittal.
Prizes were also awarded to Jonh Pickford (Rider that Enjoyed it the Longest), James Smith and Meghan Taylor (Youngest Male and Youngest Female), Tegwan Doering and Jena Fraser (Best Dressed), Karen Decicco (rider draw), Mark and the Templettes (relay team draw), Adele McLearn (volunteer draw), Einar Halbig (rider draw) and Fraser (everybody draw).
While in the spirit of fundraising for the local organization, riders also put forth some impressive times.
In the men’s under 50 class Williams Lake’s Ryan Oliver crossed the finish line first of all riders in 2:34:09. Shortly behind him was Vancouver’s Bryce Granger in 2:35:29, and in third place was Williams Lake’s Scott Gordon in 2:52:16.
For the women’s under-50 class two Williams Lake ladies, Jen Anderson (2:58:03) and Dianna Watt (3:07:56), nabbed the top two spots. In third was North Vancouver’s Danielle Belik (3:08:12).
The top three over the finish line in the men’s 50-plus category were Williams Lake’s Ivor McMahen (2:35:30), Vancouver’s Rob Taylor (2:57:24) and Williams Lake’s Martin Lettinga (3:26:04).
In the women’s 50-plus class Ann Carter of Williams Lake finished in 3:07:43 for first place, before locals Lazzarin (4:54:33) and Donahue (4:54:33) tied for second.
“Some riders told me that it was the ‘best year ever,’” Levitt said.
“To that I say, look out for the 20th annual.”