Posted by Editoress on 05/5/11
The Ninth Annual Race the Ridge Cycling Stage Race presented by Local Ride Bike Shop is set to take Maple Ridge by storm this weekend (May 7-8), with top local, provincial, and national cyclists expected to put on a show for the community in what is the City's premier cycling event, offering free entertainment for the whole family.
"I'm especially excited about the Town Core Criterium that takes place at prime time on Saturday evening," said race organizer and Local Ride Bike Shop owner, Barry Lyster. "This event is a must-see, especially for people who have never experienced elite competitive cycling action up close before. These skilled men and women hit the corners so fast, it's incredible."
The Town Core Criterium is Race the Ridge's feature event set in downtown Maple Ridge on an 800 metre course that contains five corners, including two 90-degree turns, a chicane, and the hallmark Haney Place Hairpin. The downtown core will be enveloped in a festival atmosphere with music, live DJ and race commentator, local vendors and - in addition to the elite and amateur races - a free kids' race.
"The kids' race will be held right after the elite women's and before the elite men's races, which means our champions of the future will get to share the spotlight with some of the country's top cyclists. These kids will get to race on the same road as their Canadian cycling heroes. How cool is that?," said Lyster.
The town core will be bike and pedestrian friendly when the races take place from 3:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Saturday, so spectators are asked to walk or roll their way to the best viewing points on course.
"Fans should also remember to bring cowbells, noisemakers and a strong set of lungs to encourage the athletes. The louder you cheer, the faster they tend to go," added Lyster. Another way for spectators to make racers pedal harder and directly impact the action is by contributing to the crowd cash prime, which will be split evenly between the elite men and women. There will also be primes - or sprint prizes - with time bonuses and other swag up for grabs.
Lots of local talent will be on hand in every category, with the Maple Ridge-based Local Ride/Dr. Vie Elite Women's Cycling Team headlining the elite women's race. Team stars Laura Brown and Steph Roorda, both National Track Cycling Team members and World Cup medalists, will be on the start line, while local development rider Maggie Coles-Lyster hopes to defend her U17 women's title.
"Race the Ridge will mark the debut of the Local Ride/Dr. Vie Superfoods+ women's team and we're really excited to have Laura [Brown] and Steph [Roorda] back from World Cups. They are looking forward to racing in a very competitive elite women's field," said Lyster, who manages the squad.
In the elite men's race, Local Ride Racing's Richard Machhein and Zach Young will take on the top guys, which will be no small feat, with top provincial teams like Trek/Red Truck Racing, H&R Block, and Garneau Evolution set to attend.
"Registration is going very well and the Category 3/4 men's field is almost sold out," said Lyster. "Race the Ridge is also a BC Team qualifying event for the Western Canada Summer Games, so we'll have lots of up-and-coming stars out there."
Race the Ridge is not just limited to the spectacular Town Core Criterium, however. In fact, it's a three-event cycling stage race, which runs all weekend and includes an individual time trial on Saturday morning in Golden Ears Provincial Park, the hallmark criterium in the evening, and the challenging Thorn Hill Road Race on Sunday morning. In the end, the big winner is determined by who has the shortest combined time over all three stages.
Saturday, May 7 - Golden Ears Individual Time Trial - 22 kilometres - Golden Ears Provincial Park
Spectators of Race the Ridge's Golden Ears time trial can multitask by cheering on speedy riders and going for a spectacular hike in the cedar forests of Golden Ears Provincial Park. The racers will head north on the road from the park entrance and turn around at the 11 kilometre mark, attacking the challenging rolling terrain in an attempt to log the fastest time. The start/finish area and race hub is located near the park entrance.
Saturday, May 7 - Town Core Criterium - Multiple Laps of an 800 metre course - Downtown Maple Ridge
A criterium is arguably the most exciting race for spectators. The town core course features five corners, including two 90-degree turns, a chicane, and the hallmark Haney Place Hairpin. Racing starts at 3:30 pm and runs until 8:30 pm.
Sunday, May 8 - Thorn Hill Road Race - 10 kilometre course - Thorn Hill, Maple Ridge
Road racing is a true test of endurance and strength for riders, and the Thorn Hill Road Race is no exception. This 10 kilometre course is hilly and grueling, especially on the morning after a tough time trial and challenging criterium. Depending on the riders' categories, competitors will face from one to 10 laps, with racing starting at 8:00 am at Thorn Hill Elementary School. The rider with the shortest cumulative time over all three stages that wins the 2011 Race the Ridge title. With its series of leg-searing rolling climbs and unforgiving uphill finish, the Thorn Hill race is designed for climbers and generally hard riders.
Interested in racing? The event is open to pre-registration only, which closes Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Visit www.karelo.com or www.localride.ca/races for more info.
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