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Dozens tear up Christina Lake trails for Funduro

Mountain biking event focuses on joy of the sport

A fun cycling competition and meet saw a lot of new faces as mountain bikers mounted up to tackle trails in the mountains around Christina Lake.

About 45 riders met on Stewart Creek Road early Saturday morning for the annual Funduro to tackle a combined 19 kilometres of trails and obstacles, but with an emphasis on keeping it fun and making sure everyone rode within their abilities.

All riders started at the 5.5 kilometre mark and depending on their ability category, beginner, intermediate or advanced, followed their courses to break hubs to record their times. The course was broken up into five stages and depending on abilities, each rider was given a course they had to stick to for their times to be recorded.

By the end, most riders were back within one to two hours for games, lunch provided by the Christina Lake Firefighters Association and trophies.

There was room for 75 riders, but Sheldon Weigel, one of the organizers, said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of new and young riders that registered.

“We have lots of racers this year and lots of categories, even a few people that came out of town for this,” he said. “It’s great to see so many new people and kids getting into this sport. Lots of young kids in the eight to 12 category, lots of beginners and lots of teenagers.”

Having 45 riders out of a possible 75 spaces is a good number and about what they had last year, he said. While it’s a competition, this event is focused on fun. Everyone would get a prize, even though there were trophies for first, second and third in each age and ability category.

Funduro was supposed to be held in June, Weigel said, but several unforeseen circumstances forced organizers to push it back to the end of September.

“We had the floods, then fires sparked up, then one of the organizers got really sick,” he said. “This worked out nicely, though. We got just as many riders this year as we did last year and we are thinking we may have two Funduro events next year, depending on planning.”

The races were truly a family experience for Michael Rudy. He brought his three children, Lewis, 6, Whit, 8 and Olivia, 10 who were all racing in the beginner youth category. Michael said he used to be an avid cyclist in the early 2000’s, but he gave it up as he got older. Now his children all have an interest in it, so he has taken it up again, and accompanied them in their races.

Mountain biking is a family activity already, said Rudy.

“We ride at Fisherman’s Creek two to three times a week, so we are ready for this,” he said. “I hope they can enjoy it as much as I did when I was younger.”

Once the races were concluded, Terra MacKinnon, from Castlegar, was first place in the women’s beginner class. She started riding about two years ago, but had a setback this past summer when she broke her arm, she explained.

“I had to ride beginner because I broke my arm in May,” she said. “I’ve only been riding since Aug. 28, so I haven’t had a lot of summer riding and training.”

Once she was medically cleared to ride, she said she spent as much time riding and training as she could to get back in shape.

This was her first time on these trails and said they were even better than the ones around her home city.

The biggest challenge for her was the climbs, but the descending trails were wonderful, MacKinnon said, describing them as “flowy.”

She definitely has plans to return for the next Funduro, adding she’s training to get ready for it.