On Tuesday, July 9, some 650 riders from 36 countries participated in the tenth annual Powell River stage of the BC Bike Race. Participants camped at Willingdon Beach before taking on the 50 kilometre distance and 800 metres of elevation on local trails.
This year, race organizers invited a local rider from each participating community to take part in their stage of the race, not as a competitor but as an ambassador for the area. Cyclist Stephanie Reed represented Powell River for stage four.
“The ride was wicked hard but awesome,” said Reed. “I went out too fast and ‘bonked’ but did finish strong. I couldn’t let my supporters down. There were a lot of people supporting and cheering me on, which buoyed me tremendously.”
Born and raised in the community, Reed was competitive in track and field and became serious about mountain biking in the last few years. She and her husband Cam and their children are actively involved in maintaining the local trail network, according to BC Bike Race Powell River course director Wayne Brewer.
Reed said she hopes more local people will come on board as volunteers next year as there is a lot of work that goes into maintaining the trails.
“I know it took several days to take down all the [BC Bike Race] ribbon along the 50 kilometre stretch,” she said. “And that was after [the race] was over.”
Overall, participating in the event was unforgettable, she added. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s nice to see these athletes from abroad wowed by the natural beauty here,” she said. “We really are so fortunate to call this place home.”