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Second Hellracer 250 held

Organizer happy with 2015 event



There were hot temperatures and some smoke even showed up, but all told, the Hellracer 250 was less hellish in its second year.

Participants came from Squamish and Whistler to begin the July 4 ride in Pemberton. Riders made their way up to D'Arcy and then went up the Highline Road to Seton Portage before continuing to Lillooet. From there, riders took the Duffey Lake Road back to their starting point.

Though temperatures topped 35 degrees C this time around, organizer Chad Coates noted he had picked up some readings of 43 degrees in 2014.

"It wasn't as hot as it was last year, but it was still pretty hot," Coates said.

With 11 riders taking part, numbers were down slightly from the inaugural year's 15, though Coates said he was glad to get a little new blood in the mix. He also chuckled at how there were more people in support vehicles than on bikes.

"There were some of the same people who came from last year and a whole bunch of new people that had heard about it and wanted to try it," he said. "It's pretty casual. It's not like there's an entry fee and it's not really a race. You show up and it's more of a challenge.

"If you want to do it, you have to have some friends because you need some people helping you for support."

Coates noted the top riders came in just under the 12-hour wire, including breaks, though the back of the pack wasn't all that far behind.

"You don't necessarily really ride all together. People were at their own pace all over the place because of how hard the road is and how long the day is," he said. "They were all within a couple hours of each other at the end, which is pretty normal for a day like that."

Coates said the smoky conditions Sea to Sky corridor residents contended with were only noticeable later on the day of the ride.

"Once we got back onto the Pemberton side of the Duffey, you could smell the smoke up at the higher elevation," he said. "When we got to town, it looked like a thunderstorm was rolling in down the meadows. But you could tell it was smoke because the sun was blood red."

Coates said the ride came about from a long-time cycling goal of his. He had tested out the course before inviting others along for 2014.

"I'd always wanted to do the climb out of Seton (Portage)," he said. "It's crushed gravel, but they keep it pretty good. It's super steep. And so every time I've driven that way, I wanted to ride it.

"I rode the loop just by myself one day. The road's pretty good. The Highline's in pretty good shape. They grade it and it's not ridiculously rough or anything."