You don’t have to be crazy to ride in the third annual Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls Freeride Challenge, but it helps. It comes in handy organizing an event like this as well.
On Saturday, May 29, enterprising riders are invited to come out and experience more than a dozen of the technical granite trails that make up the Valleycliffe network.
"Why would I want to make an event like this? I’ve been asking myself the same thing," said founder and promoter Bryan Raiser. "Basically I wanted to make an event that I would want to go in.
"The Test of Metal is cool, but you have to really be in shape and prepared to pedal the whole way. The Test also has a lot of cool prizes, an awesome party and some good camaraderie among the riders, and I wanted that too, but with more of a freeride kind of thing going on.
"After the first year everybody liked it so much that I’m forced to do it every year."
It’s not a race, says Raiser, but a ride, although there is always a small group that like to race each other to the finish. There is a new element this year, a series of judged Double Dog Dares that are worth points, so a winner will be chosen at the end of the day.
Raiser suggests that you should be at least an intermediate rider before you consider entering the Valleycliffe challenge. "You can always walk around stuff, like other trails, but you should have some experience. If you’re comfortable riding granite, then you’ll be all over it," said Raiser.
Last year’s event brought out more than 60 riders, and Raiser would like to see the number of participants continue to grow.
The course will be "pretty much the same" as previous years with a few significant changes, Raiser says. There should also be a few new stunts ready to ride as the organizers continue building up the trails.
"We’re putting a lot of work into it this year, and we hope to have a couple of new things for people to ride this year. And of course there will be lots and lots of granite," said Raiser.
For some riders the appeal will be the challenging trails, while others can use the day to learn their way around the confusing trail network – climbers in the area have their own trails as well, which makes it hard to know what route to take.
There are five peaks on the course, with quite a few hike-a-bike sections. There will also be a central area to get water and fruit.
The after party will be held at the Howe Sound Brewing Company. All of the participants get a free beverage and personal pizza as part of their fee.
Also, the after-party should include some video footage of the day, which is new this year.
The organizers also have a sense of humour – every friend a participant brings out will be worth one doughnut.
You can register at Corsa Cycles or the Tantalus Bike Shop or online at www.cynicalsunshine.com.
You can also register on the day of the race at Ravens Plateau until the 11 a.m. start. The cost is $30 for Cycling B.C. members (including WORCA members in Whistler) and $40 for everyone else. That includes the event, fruit, the after party and prizes.