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Bear Mountain gears up for inaugural bike festival

Posted on February 10, 2017

by Rick Stiebel – Goldstream News Gazette
Langford, West Shore posted Feb 10, 2017 at 7:00 AM


The wheels are turning in preparation for the Bear Mountain Bike Festival, which will combine top-level racing with the chance for amateurs of all ages and skill levels to test their mettle with the pedals.

The events, slated for March 4 and 5, will feature elite level XC and Enduro racing and other activities, including the opportunity for participants to ride the Canada Cup race circuit. Those riders will be grouped into classes that suit their skill level, and they’ll be able to check out the course under the guidance of experienced riders.

The Trek Tyke Bike Ride with Champions, held in conjunction with the South Island Mountain Bike Society, offers guided rides for youngsters aged four to 12 and features appearances by top Canadian competitive riders. “We’re going to have something for everyone, from young kids starting out, to adult beginners to pro,” said Jon Watkin, who took over as cycling manager at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa last year. “It’s great timing, considering the extent of what’s happening at Bear Mountain. It’s amazing to be working in a career and new events like this that align with my passion.”

Bike enthusiasts can also test-ride the newest models from Rocky Mountain, Trek, Norco and other brands at the Bear Mountain Bike Expo. Food, beverages, a beer garden and the chance to win some great prizes are some of the other attractions at the inaugural festival.

There’s also basic instruction on how to ride and the importance of positioning on bikes to enable people of all ages to get familiar with what takes place during a race, Watkin noted.

“The instructional camps run by (Langford bike shop) The Cycling Co., which started last year, have been so popular that we’re expanding them as well,” he added.

The Nature Trail Society and South Island Mountain Bike Society, which have both been heavily involved in developing and growing the mountain bike trail system throughout the Capital Region, will also have representatives on hand for the festival. “We’re trying to bring in an event that has different classifications and activities for people to get involved, as opposed to just standing around and watching a pro race event,” Watkin said.

The highlight of the racing portion will be the UCI Bear Mountain Canada Cup MTB Race on March 4. Many of Canada’s best riders are scheduled to participate, including Catharine Pendrel, who brought home a bronze medal in cross country mountain biking from the Summer Olympics in Rio last year. Emily Batty, who finished second to Pendrel at the Bear Mountain Canada Cup race last year, is also slated to race.

For more on the festival, go to bearmountainbikefestival.ca. For more on the race, check out bearmountaincanadacup.ca.