Yukon’s first-ever mountain bike stage race will take place August 16 through to the 18.
Beginning in Carcross, the three-stage Fury of the Yukon will take its competitors up Montana Mountain on the Sam McGee Trail, along the Yukon River valley in the second stage, and will finish on the Yukon’s largest mountain-bike trail network in the Grey Mountain area.
“This is a chance for mountain bikers to experience Yukon’s sweetest-flowing single track,” said Daniel Sessford in a press release.
Sessford, one of the Yukon’s premier mountain bikers, is currently competing in a race down south.
“Mountain bikers from all over the world can experience Yukon’s stunning landscapes and rugged terrain. It’s pure adrenaline — it’s pure Yukon.”
“There’s been several people from the Yukon, over the past few years, who’ve gone out to other areas of Canada, and also internationally, to race in mountain bike stage races.
“Most of (the races) are seven days long, somewhere in that range,” said Bill Slater, one of the race’s co-ordinators, explaining the inspiration of the contest.
“There’s a couple down in BC. One’s called the Trans-Rockies… It’s been around for seven years and most of the years there’s been people from the Yukon in it.”
Organizers were also inspired by the British Columbia Bike Race, started last year, in which cyclists travel from Vancouver Island to Whistler.
Last year, two Yukon teams entered it.
According to Slater, Yukoners have also put their foot to the pedal in races in the Alps in Europe and in Costa Rica.
“There’s been a lot of interest from local riders in riding some of these stage-races,” said Slater.
“Some of us who raced one last year decided it was time we had a small one here to allow people to do that and also to bring in riders, potentially.”
“We consider it to be some of the best riding conditions we’ve got in Western Canada,” said Slater, referring to the course.
Sharing some of the same course as the Yukon Adventure Challenge two weeks ago, each of the three stages is between 45 and 65-kilometres.
Mountain bikers may compete in all three stages or just enter individual stages. In fact, the final stage is combined with the Yukon’s premier mountain bike race.
“What we’ve done is make the third day of the race the King of the Cannon Race, which have been the Yukon championships for mountain biking in the Yukon for the last five years,” said Slater.
“People who are entering the Fury of the Yukon for the three stages can do that, but people who just want to enter the King of the Cannon can just do that as well.
“So the two races are somewhat combined into a single day of this event,” added Slater.
Because it is a new event, and so grueling, co-ordinators expect a modest turnout.
“We may not have so many this year because it’s such an undertaking for riders to take on,” said Slater. “Hopefully we’ll be in the 15 to 30 range; that’s where we’d like to be.”