Normally the summer season is relatively quiet on Whitehorse’s biathlon range, but not this year.
A partnership between the Contagious Mountain Bike Club and Biathlon Yukon has created a new way for Yukoners to make use of the range. Bike biathlon races have been taking place each Monday in August to the delight of local cycling enthusiasts.
“Biathlon Yukon approached us, and it sounded like a great partnership for a totally different event,” explains Contagious Mountain Bike Club vice president Julie DesBrisay.
DesBrisay goes on to explain what the sport is all about.
“Bike biathlon is a fun race on Biathlon Yukon trails involving a short mountain bike course ridden in laps, with target shooting in between laps. Each target missed means an additional short penalty loop.”
DesBrisay credits the sport’s appeal to its unique combination of activities and skills.
“Many mountain bikers have never shot guns before and are surprised by how fun target shooting can be! There’s a little bit of fun competition, too. The penalty laps really even out the field of racers.”
Races to date have seen about 20 cyclists try their luck. Participants have tested themselves against a four- by one-kilometre course with three shooting stages.
The speed demons of the bunch have finished the full course in less than 18 minutes, while the best shot in the group made it through all three shooting stages with only one missed shot.
Most participants are just out for the fun of the event and the experience with a new sport, however—which may be reflected in both their timing and the number of missed shots.
“We’ve had some great events to date,” says Jenn Roberts, Contagious Mountain Bike Club’s director of trails. “Hopefully, lots of people will come out to future events. It’s really fun.”
Bike biathlon events are open to everyone. All you need to participate is a mountain bike and a helmet. You will also need to purchase a membership to Biathlon Yukon ($20) at your first race in order to meet insurance requirements.
After that each race is just $2, which will cover the costs of your ammunition for the race.
Bike biathlon events take place on Monday evenings at 6 p.m. at the biathlon range on Grey Mountain Road. Participants should arrive on time for the mandatory range and gun safety briefing at the start of each session.
After the safety briefing and zeroing, participants get the opportunity to practise shooting before the fun-filled race begins.
Zeroing is a practice performed before competition to ready the rifle for the race. Athletes shoot at paper targets to align the rifle’s sights in order to accommodate for wind and sun conditions.
For more information please contact Contagious Mountain Bike Club at [email protected]
Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected].