Four adventurous TNDC employees donned helmets and took to mountain bikes on June 17th to participate in the annual Tour de Telegraph bike ride to raise funds for the Dease Lake Recreation Centre, which is used by Tahltans and other community members.
Chris Vance, lowbed driver, Freeman Louie, operations coordinator, Hankin Asp, chief operating officer, and Rhonda Quock-Williams, office manager, represented TNDC. The four joined Tahltans, CFNR Radio staff and members from industry, together totalling 37 riders.
The challenging 112 km road between Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake is renowned for its beautiful scenery and roller coaster terrain in stretches. Intended as a fun, non-competitive event to benefit charity, riders had the option of riding the entire distance or forming teams and riding sections.
The riders left the Tahltan School in Telegraph Creek at 9:30 am and rested at scheduled stops along the way, including a 30-minute break for lunch. They rode and stayed together the entire time. The group arrived at the Dease Lake Recreation Centre around 7:30 pm, where a barbecue dinner was hosted for the riders and support vehicle drivers. Luckily it was a warm, sunny day with just a light rain shower near the end, since 99 percent of the road is gravel and can get treacherous when wet.
Twelve riders completed the entire 112 km, including Hankin, who impressively was the first Tahltan to finish and second rider overall to finish. He says it was rewarding and is already looking forward to next year, “It was a great, challenging experience. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to complete the entire distance. I hope I’m a motivation for others to train and participate.”
Chris rode 60 km and raves about the experience, “It was a blast although harder than I expected. I plan to ride next year, but will definitely be wearing riding shorts. It was also great to meet new faces.” Freeman rode 56 km and is also committed to trying the full length next year. “It was a very humbling experience. Next year, I’ll train more and get a better bike,” he says. Rhonda rode 40 km and echoes the sentiment, “It was a very memorable experience! I’m also looking forward to participating next year and increasing my distance.”
TNDC sponsored the four’s $25 registration fee and made a $5,000 donation to the Recreation Centre, which was presented at the dinner. A number of local businesses, resource companies, including our industry and business clients, and Tahltan organizations sponsored the event. As part of its sponsorship, CFNR radio out of Terrace accompanied the riders providing support and assisting with the scheduled stops, as well as taking video footage and photos which they profiled on air and online.
This was the sixth year for the bike ride, which was started by Rick McLean, newly-re-elected and past chief of the Tahltan Band. Congratulations to Rhonda, Hankin, Freeman, Chris and the other riders on completing this physically arduous ride for an important cause.