With the rush of events filling up the month of September, sometimes known as "the Month of Pain," West Side Wheel Up race director Phil Chew made the decision to move his race up by a week, to Saturday, Sept. 4.
Despite the date change, Chew's goal is to get at least 150 riders out to the event, which is in its 17 th year.
"This is the longest running bike race in the corridor next to the Cheakamus Challenge," said Chew. "It's older than the Loonie races, and was one of the first technical races in the corridor."
According to Chew, the riders are needed to raise funds for the B.C. Para Alpine Ski Team, which has seen its funding drop following the Paralympics. While this is typical of most sports organizations, where funding ramps up in the years before a Games, Chew wants to build on the momentum.
"The money is really for bursaries," he said. "A lot of our athletes are self-supported and we want to be able to give something to all of our athletes to help them with their costs and keep them with the program. These are our future Paralympians we're supporting."
The event itself is only a little bit longer than a Toonie Ride. The start line is on the Millar Creek Road in Function Junction. The course heads up the trail to Alta Lake Road and the entrance to Lower Sproatt. The selection of trails is Lower Sproatt, Beaver Pond, Upper and Lower Beaver Pass, Bob's ReBob, Get Over It and the entire length of A River Runs Through It to Rainbow Park. The now legendary after-party, which is sponsored by Whistler Brewing, takes place in a clearing above the park.
The cost of riding is $25, which includes a raffle ticket for the prize draw. As usual the top prize is a dual mountain ski pass donated by Whistler Blackcomb. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is also providing a prize package. Dozens of other businesses in town have also donated prizes.
Sign-on gets underway around 11 a.m. at the start. The race gets underway at noon.
If you would like to volunteer for this year's Wheel Up, contact Phil Chew at 604-932-2110.