The Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner is considered among the most chilling and inspirational music ever written. Once upon a time it was played on the radio by German tank soldiers heading into battle. The song was also featured in Apocalypse Now , with Robert Duvall's Air Calvary blaring the song on loudspeakers while attacking a Vietnamese village.
Now it's the theme music for a new mountain bike event, taking place Saturday, Aug. 6. Like the music, the Ride of the Valkyries promises to be epic.
The event replaces the Cheakamus Challenge, and the short course option is this year's Ken Quon Memorial Ride.
The long race is about 50 kilometres in length, and is expected to take the fastest riders around two hours to complete. So far Neal Kindree and Kevin Calhoun have committed, as well as most of the fast local riders.
The race starts at Whistler Secondary, climbs through Alpine Meadows to Rick's Roost and the entrance to the Alpine Flank trail. After a long climb, the trail winds down a section of trail known as Alpe d'Huez - after the spectacular climb often used in the Tour de France - 27 switchbacks and hundreds of metre of vertical descending on a wide trail.
From there, short course riders will continue down through Bob's ReBob to the finish (a total distance of around 12km), while long course riders will climb back up Mid Flank until they get to the entrance of Industrial Disease. From there on it's all about singletrack, with Lower Sproatt, Beaver Pond, Danimal North, Lower Beaver Pass, Get Over It, Bob's ReBob and the Emerald Forest.
Both races get underway at 11 a.m.
All of the proceeds from the ride and race will go towards the Ken Quon Foundation, which has raised money to purchase emergency life-saving equipment for paramedics and Whistler Fire Rescue. This year the focus will be on youth mountain biking programs, which teach children to ride safely.
Like the Ken Quon events of the past, the after-party will be at the Riverside RV Resort and Campground, sponsored by IGA.
The cost of riding the long race is $40, while the shorter ride is $20.
Online registration is available at www.karelo.com until 6 p.m. on Friday. Day-of-event registration is also available until 10 a.m. for a surcharge of $10.