The wheels are in motion for this year’s 23rd Annual Tour de Cariboo.
And, Williams Lake Big Brothers Big Sisters executive director Melissa Newberry said there’s still time to sign up for the association’s largest fundraiser of the year, a 75-kilometre bike trek from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake, followed by a day of rest and relaxation.
“We want as many people to register as possible,” Newberry said, noting the 2014 event raised more than $60,000 for the association’s various programs. “Last year, we raised the most the event’s ever raised.”
Riders, who are asked to collect pledges prior to race day, begin at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex then head out onto Highway 97 before taking the turnoff at the Horsefly/Likely Road.
Support drivers will follow along throughout the route, and there will be rest stops along the way, with a lunch stop for those interested at the Big Lake Store.
“I think the most important thing about the ride is it’s a fun event,” Newberry said. “If you want to be a part of a relay team, you can do that — we’ve got a lot of support along the way.
“You ride within your ability and the distance that suits you. It’s a race for people who are competitive, but our main thing is it’s a fundraiser, and people are always generous in what they raise.”
Upon arriving at Gavin Lake participants will have access to showers, an outdoor sauna on the shores of Gavin Lake, a massage therapist, Sheila Boehm, and entertainment, so far featuring the stylings of Jay Goddard.
At 4 p.m., a catered dinner will be served.
One twist on this year’s ride will be an optional six-kilometre cross country loop for those interested once they arrive at Gavin Lake.
“Last year we got some feedback we should do something different, so we’ve registered a Strava segment (a biking training mobile app featuring trail maps, and countless statistics),” she said. “Anybody who rides that segment will show up as having ridden it on the app. It’s tailored to all levels of mountain bikers.”
Prizes will also be available for top pledge earners and top race finishers, with the top prize being a catered weekend at Chaunigan Lake in the Chilcotin. Other prize packs include a two-night stay in Bella Coola, plus a family package from Bell-E-Acres, she said.
Newberry said 100 per cent of the funds raised will stay in Williams Lake to support children’s programming, such as BBBS’s community-based matches and its in-school mentoring programs.
“I want to encourage people to ride and support our programs,” she said.
Registration begins at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex on Sept. 12 at 8 a.m., with the ride to follow at 9 a.m.
For more information, or to register, visit http://www.bbswlake.com/en/Home/newsevents/default.aspx. You can also call BBBS for more information at 250-398-8391, or stop by the office at 200-369 Oliver Street (above Curve’s) for more.