THE ABSENCE this year of the Skeena River Challenge, the race from Prince Rupert to Terrace along Hwy16, didn’t stop local cyclists from coming up with an alternative.
The Terrace Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) cast its eyes northward, organizing a race from Terrace to the Rosswood General Store and back on Hwy113.
It took place Sunday, Aug. 11.
“The alternative to The Skeena River Challenge this year had 27 participants from Smithers, Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Terrace,” reports race organizer Michael Bruce.
“The route was a very scenic ride up Highway 113 to the Rosswood General Store and back.”
“Ten participants chose a more competitive distance of 100km to the Big Cedar River Bridge and back.”
“Weather was great but everyone had to contend with a mid afternoon headwind on the return leg,” Bruce said.
Also in attendance was Andrew Hansen, the 1984 Canadian Cycling Championships Road Champion.
Now living in Sechelt, is in the area working on Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat Modernization Project at Kitimat.
Bruce said the turnout pleased organizers who now think the race to Rosswood will be staged again next year.
“It’s great to see people come out for an event that is a bit more manageable than a 160 kilometre century ride,” he added.
“We had a tandem bike team of Travis Carter and 12 year old son Aiden Carter as well as Mark Henry and Peter Krause, who were in the original Skeena River Challenge over 25 years ago.”
Bruce said Smithers riders dominated the 100km portion with Neil Hodgins, Peter Krause, and Thomas Skinner crossing the line for first, second and third respectively with times of under three hours.
Cycling, thanks to improving road conditions and the provision of bike lanes, has taken hold in the area. TORCA is the main cycling body in the city.