By Andrew Mitchell
On Wednesday, May 23, over 20 members of the national ski team, plus coaches and support staff, left Calgary on an 11-day, 1,000-kilometre bike ride that will take the team past the 1988 Olympic venue at Nakiska, to the 2010 Olympic venue in Whistler.
The ride started as a dryland training program suggested by a handful of athletes, but quickly took on a life of its own as more athletes signed up and Alpine Canada threw its support behind the ride. The main goal of the ride is still to enhance the fitness of the athletes, but it has taken on an ambassador role as well as the team makes stops in communities along the way to visit schools and attend functions, promoting the team and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The ride will pull into Whistler Saturday, June 2, after a long ride from Lillooet over the Duffey Lake Road.
Their final destination is Creekside Plaza, outside of Dusty’s, where they will be greeted by delegates from the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Mountain Ski Club and an end-of-ride barbecue. The skiers are scheduled to arrive between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Members of the ski team taking part include Whistler Mountain Ski Club alums Michael Janyk, Robbie Dixon, Manuel Osborne Paradis, and Allison Forsyth. Other riders include Scott Barrett, John Kucera, Gareth Sine, Paul Stutz, Trevor White, Jean-Philippe Roy, Brad Spence, Larisa Yurkiw, Sherry Lawrence, Brigitte Acton, Christina Lustenberger, Emily Brydon, Emilie Desforges, and Kelly VanderBeek.
The national team is coming off a record season with 14 World Cup medals, one world championship medal, and 44 Top-10 results. The last number is probably the most significant, almost doubling the team’s previous record for top-10 results.