Skeena River Challenge revived for dedicated cyclists

Cooler weather and just a little humidity made for good racing conditions for a revived Skeena River Challenge Aug. 9.

Seven dedicated cyclists biked the recent Skeena River Challenge from Prince Rupert to Terrace.

Cooler weather and just a little humidity made for good racing conditions for a revived Skeena River Challenge bicycle race from Prince Rupert to Terrace Aug. 9, says its winner.

“There was no head wind or tail wind so that was nice too,” said race winner Peter Krause, a former Terrace resident who now lives in Smithers.

The race was a bit different this year, due to low participation. The seven riders stayed together for most of the ride, only breaking into a race for the last 22 kilometres.

Krause said at the Shames Hill on Hwy16, he and two other riders from Smithers broke away from the group to race for the end.

“We rode together until we got to the bottom of the hill to the college… About half way up the hill from there I attacked,” Krause said.

“That’s when I gave it my kicker and broke away from the other two guys.”

Krause finished in 4:52:55, his 15th win in the 30-year history of the race.

The once-annual Skeena River Challenge has an uncertain future, and it was replaced last year and in 2013 with a gran fondo between Terrace and Rosswood and back.

Compared to a race such as the Skeena River Challenge, a gran fondo is more of a tour which encourages participation by all levels of cyclists using any type of bicycle.

It also allows riders choose how far they wish to travel, said Bruce Martindale, treasurer of the Terrace Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) which ran the race.

TORCA and the riders vote year-by-year on which races to run each year, and tours like the gran fondo are growing in popularity, said Martindale.

That there were only seven racers in the Skeena River Challenge this year possibly because of its length or that TORCA couldn’t round up enough volunteers to expand the event to include recreational riders, he said.

He added that the Skeena River Challenge was staged again this year for the cyclists who missed the scenic annual challenge.

“They are the dedicated racers, they will show up no matter what the weather, no matter when. So we were doing something for them,” said Martindale.

Meanwhile, TORCA is staging two more races for mountain bikers and Martindale anticipates a good turn out for both.

The Wild Wild Descent is set for August 23 and the Flathead Flatout is on September 13.