Riders gathered just before kicking off the 23rd Annual Tour de Cariboo Saturday — a 75-kilometre bike ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Riders gathered just before kicking off the 23rd Annual Tour de Cariboo Saturday — a 75-kilometre bike ride from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Tour de Cariboo raises more than $37,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake executive director Melissa Newberry said she was floored by the amount of money raised.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake executive director Melissa Newberry said she was floored by the amount of money raised by riders during Saturday’s 23rd Annual Tour de Cariboo.

While numbers were slightly down for this year’s tour — a 75-kilometre bike trek from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake — 56 riders helped raise more than $37,000 for the local organization — funds that will be used to support its various programs such as in-school mentoring and community-based matching.

“Those riders raised a lot of money,” Newberry said, noting the effort from all is appreciated. “Also, the board, staff and volunteers at all the rest stops along the way did an amazing job.”

She said the weather was good, for the most part, and added the course was in good shape.

“One thing I heard this year is everyone’s always a little nervous of the gravel section between the main road and Gavin Lake and it was in the best condition they’d ever experienced, so that was really good,” she said.

This year’s fastest male rider was Paul Rohner, who completed the course in two hours, 27 minutes and 39 seconds. The fastest female, meanwhile, was Jenny Howell in three hours, 15 minutes and 31 seconds.

Runner ups in the male and female categories were Clint Ellis (2:30.06), Darron Campbell (2:34.55), Deena Williamson (3:26.54) and Cindy Moore (3:39.23), respectively.

In the plus-50 division it was Quesnel’s Bob Simpson bringing home the fastest time in two hours, 30 minutes and 51 seconds, while Williams Lake’s Ann Carter was first in the female category in three hours, 10 minutes and 34 seconds.

Runner ups in the 50-plus division were Dave Dickson (3:36.44), George Cornett (3:39.23), Cheri Wiebe (3:19.25) and Patsy Kohnke (3:39.35).

Ellis, the highest fundraiser with $4,675, won a two-night stay at Chaunigan Lake Lodge and a $50 travel card and three-piece luggage set from All-Ways Travel.

Gerald Ryan was closely behind with $4,400 to win a flight for two from Pacific Coastal and Massey Theatre tickets.

The event’s third-highest fundraiser was Kohnke with $3,600 to win a two-night stay at Bella Coola Mountain Lodge.

Following the ride participants spent a relaxing day at Gavin Lake, before dinner and awards were presented.