Intrepid mountain bikers, novice and experienced alike, are donning their helmets and dousing the lights in preparation for the tenth annual mountain bike festival, 24 Hours of Light Bike Relay.
More of a festival than a competitive race, the relay allows cyclists to experience the beauty of the Yukon’s Midnight Sun with the technical challenge of mountain biking through the woods.
Current organizers Marsha Cameron and Devon McDiarmid are proud and excited to host this year’s event, the fourth in a row they’ve hosted together.
“It will be 10 years this year, and we’re trying to make it as much fun as we possibly can,” says Cameron. “It’s located at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum, people will camp out there and stay up all night,” she says.
Each year, they offer exciting activities to keep drowsy bikers awake and ready to play. Giant sumo wrestling suits, music rocking the campsites, ‘bike jousting’ and a karaoke machine are just small examples of the type of zany fun participants are drawn into.
Registration is ongoing, although many Whitehorse residents choose to register last-minute.
Cameron notes that up to 30 per cent of participants are from out of town, like Colorado, Newfoundland, Vancouver and Alberta.
“It’s great to see people from elsewhere, we don’t advertise Outside as it is primarily through word of mouth, but we’ve gotten press from some cool magazines, which has brought people here from fairly far away,” says Cameron.
The numbers are capped at around 200 participants, a “safe, accessible number of people,” according to co-organizer Devon McDiarmid.
“This sort of no-lights, 24-hour relay never happens anywhere else, and that’s what’s so unique and so Yukon about it,” says Cameron.
“It’s special to the Yukon, and it’s crazy, fun and a great way to get out and get riding,” she says.
While this is not a seriously competitive race, there are sponsors, great prizes offered as draw prizes and silly event prizes. It’s all about the engagement, not the win.
McDiarmid rode as the first biker to compete as a solo member and laughs, “I was the first solo rider 10 years ago, and the only solo rider.”
He adds that it’s much more fun to look at it as a festival, rather than a serious race, although now many people do compete solo and challenge themselves.
The 24 Hours of Light Bike Relay happens on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, from noon to noon, at the Copperbelt Railway & Mining Museum.
The track winds its way through 14.5 kilometres and offers 50 per cent single track riding, with some elevation to add a bit of a challenge. The relay allows for teams of two, four and eight, as well as solo riding.
For more information and registration about the relay, feel free to visitwww.24hoursoflight.ca.
To get involved in the Yukon’s mountain bike scene, visit the contagious mountain bike club website at www.cmbcyukon.ca.