Posted by Editoress on 04/4/15
Victoria's biggest bike race is moving to the Inner Harbour, as the annual Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series p/b PISE, on June 5-7, is making a few fast-paced, electrifying changes, including a bold move to race around the BC Legislative Buildings.
First off, on Friday night (June 5th), the rubber will hit the road - with 2 wheels replacing 4 wheels - at Western Speedway as cyclists compete in the new Peninsula Coop Sprint Challenge. The sprint challenge is a competition within the 600m speedway course, organized into heats of four racers each. Starting from a slate of 24 racers each for men and women, the top two finishers in each knockout heat move on to the next round until the ultimate champion is crowned in the final showdown. These super-fast, spectacular races mean sure-fire thrills for a bleacher-packed crowd. Spectators will also have access to food, drinks, and a beer garden by Hoyne Brewing Company.
Saturday, June 6th, is the Cheemo Perogies Cycling Classic in Metchosin. Known as one of the most challenging cycling circuits in BC, this race has been previous host to the BC Road Cycling Championships. Past winners include professional racers Megan Rathwell, Jacob Schwingboth, Garett McLeod, and Adam DeVos. Steep climbs and wicked fast descents make for a race that is relentless. Spectators can watch the race from Hans Helgesen Elementary school on Rocky Point Road.
In tandem, a fundraising bike ride hosted by Rebalance MD will invite the general public participate to help raise funds for charity work for Uganda Children. The ride will start in downtown Victoria and take participants to the Metchosin Cycling Race venue to provide an opportunity to cheer on and support the racers. More details to come.
The big change is the move of the Bastion Square Grand Prix to the BC Legislature, on Sunday, June 7th. The Accent Inns/Russ Hays Grand Prix will feature a familiar 1km course around the BC Legislature that was previously used in the late 1980's. With the start/finish located on Belleville Street, the racers will turn south on Government Street, followed by turning west on Superior. The backstretch will see the racers head north on Menzies and turn east back to Belleville Street.
"We have always wanted to raise the bar with respect to creating a better spectator experience for our event. We also feel the venue change will help to showcase Victoria as a great cycling tourism destination," said Race Director Jon Watkin, explaining the change. "But what isn't changing is the calibre of the competition - Canada's top cyclists will be showcased throughout the weekend - and the opportunities for cyclists of all ages and abilities through various events."
The grounds of the BC Legislature will also include some new family friendly activities. "Having access to the BC Legislature grass area allows us to expand our children and family activities and to create a more lively atmosphere that celebrates cycling for all ages and abilities," Watkin said.
The ever-popular Tim Horton's Timbits Challenge will continue on the new circuit and is expected to attract up to 150 kids ages 3-10.
"You can't help but smile when watching this event. The kids have a blast," said Timbits Challenge Coordinator Sandy McClary. "Everyone gets a medal, T-shirt, water bottle, and a pack of Timbits - and the registration is free."
Olympian stars will join the kids as they take to the streets to complete 1 lap of the Legislature circuit. The younger children will ride a shorter course. All participants must be registered in advance (see website) - families are encouraged to register early as the field may be limited. Youth races will also be featured at the speedway and at the Legislature.
Olympic superstars will also join local media personalities in the GAIN Celebrity bike relay. Last year, Olympians Adam Kreek, Andrew Byrns, David Calder, Alison Sydor, and Simon Whitfield took part in a hilarious event that saw them race against the mayor of Victoria and media personalities from CHEK TV, 100.3 the Q, and the Times Colonist. Final names of attendees for this year's event will be announced later in April.
For more information on the cycling series, visit the website at www.victoriabikerace.com.
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