Two energetic TNDC employees tackled the roller coaster terrain of the Telegraph Creek to Dease Lake road on mountain bikes on June 30th to raise funds for the Dease Lake Recreation Centre in the 8th annual Tour de Telegraph bike ride. Freeman Louie, Operations Coordinator, and Hankin Asp Chief Operating Officer, were two of 48 riders, which included Tahltans, CFNR Radio staff, employees from Red Chris, Seabridge Gold and Teck Resources. Local kids joined the ride for the last two kilometres.
The 112-km road is famous for its beautiful scenery as well as extreme hills and being 99 percent unpaved, making cycling extremely challenging. Intended as a fun, non-competitive event, riders had the option of riding the entire distance or sections. The bike ride was started by Chief Rick McLean of the Tahltan Band to raise funds for charity. This year’s event raised more than $30,000 for the Rec Centre.
The cyclists left the Telegraph Creek Recreation Centre at 9:30 am. Cyclists ride at their own pace, resting at scheduled stops along the way, including a break for lunch. They arrived at the Dease Lake Recreation Centre around 7:30 pm where a dinner was hosted for the riders and support vehicle drivers. The weather was favourable, slightly overcast but dry, with moderate temperatures and a light breeze which kept mosquitos at bay.
It was the second year participating in the ride for both Hankin and Freeman. They agreed it was nice to see an increase in riders this year, including more industry, demonstrating the ride is becoming more well known.
For Freeman, the ride is about achieving his personal best. He increased his distance to 80 km (up from 56/65 km last year), and took a strategic approach, choosing to walk up the two largest hills. “I’m happy with my distance, especially since I wasn’t able to train as much as I hoped. Hearing other riders comment on how challenging it is reinforces what a feat it is. You put yourself through a lot and at times question why you do it, but at the end you’re glad you did. My goal next year will be to train more and increase my distance. Eventually I want to ride the full 112km.”
Hankin completed the entire 112 km. Although he undertook more training this year and cites improved weather and road conditions, he says it was just as challenging and rewarding. “It’s a mental and physical challenge, especially getting back on the bike after the lunch break, but such a sense of accomplishment. I battled some leg cramps, but Gatorade and health store power supplements helped. The highlight was sharing the experience with my wife who rode this year and our daughter, who joined us during the last two kilometres. The training renewed my enjoyment of cycling – I’m continuing long distance riding and look forward to participating again next year.“
TNDC was one of more than 30 sponsors, which included several local businesses, TNDC business partners Bandstra Transportation and Geotech Drilling, and resource companies Galore Creek Mining Corp., Pretium Resources, Red Chris, Seabridge Gold, Skeena Resources and Teck Resources.
Congratulations to Freeman, Hankin and the other riders on completing this physically arduous ride to support a recreation facility so important to Tahltans and other members of the Dease Lake community. For a visual perspective on the ride, check out the CFNR Radio video footage and photos.