Mountain bike masters descend on Bear Mountain

Langford and the Westin invite fans to watch the best in off-road bike racing

The 2018 Bear Mountain Bike Festival wheels into Langford at the end of March. Photo contributed

The Westin Bear Mountain Resort hosts the third annual Bear Mountain Bike Festival presented by the City of Langford and Tourism Victoria from March 31 – April 1. This year’s festival expands on past success, bringing world-class racing to Vancouver Island.

The event will showcase long distance and short track cross country racing, challenge events for enthusiasts, enduro downhill racing, dedicated activities for kids and an on-site bike expo showcasing the top mountain bike brands in the industry.

New for 2018 is the addition of a food truck concession area.

Kicking off the festival will be the UCI Bear Mountain Canada Cup MTB Race powered by Powerade on March 31, featuring three-time world champion and 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist, Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team).

“I’m really looking forward to the Bear Mountain Canada Cup. I love having such high level racing in BC to start the season and really enjoy the riding and atmosphere at this race,” Pendrel said.

Last year’s second place finisher, Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), will be looking to make a strong first impression as reigning national champion for the 2018 season, and attempt to take her first Bear Mountain Canada Cup win. Defending Canada Cup champion, Soren Meeuwisse (Trek Canada), who showed consistency year-round during the 2017 season will also be looking to defend her title.

In the Elite Men’s race, Raphael Gagné has made it his routine to win the first Canada Cup of the season and is looking to make it three-for-three at Bear Mountain. Raph will have to compete against a tough men’s field, including 2017 Canada Cup winner Evan Guthrie and national champion, Peter Disera (Norco Factory Racing).

Spectators can expect a strong field in the UCI Canada Cup Junior series. The race will be wide open for the Junior Women as last year’s winner, Gwendalyn Gibson from Team USA and second place winner Sidney McGill have moved on to the U23 category. For the first time ever, U17 men and women will be able to participate as an official Canada Cup category, and will be awarded a leader’s jersey as well as an official Canada Cup ranking.

On Sunday, spectators are invited to come out to watch the Russ Hay’s XC Short Track Race. Each race will be 20 minutes long and will take place on a fast and flowing 1.5 kilometre course. Lap prizes or “primes” will be awarded to heighten the excitement and keep the race pace high. Racing will be available for the following categories: beginner, intermediate, expert, masters, and youth cyclists.

For more information visit bearmountain.ca/recreation/bike/bear-mountain-bike-festival.

editor@mondaymag.com

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