Travel

Le Tour de Banff

It’s helmets on for the Banff National Park Bike Fest
  • Apr 30, 2014
  • 359 words
  • 2 minutes
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With the spectacular Banff National Park providing the backdrop, it’s hard to imagine competitors won’t be distracted from the gruelling matter at hand. But eye-dropping scenery notwithstanding, some 500 hard-core cyclists from Western Canada and the United States will leave everything they’ve got on the road during the Banff Bike Fest 2014.

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The four-day festival (June 12–15) features five races and a $21,500 prize purse, and only serious cyclists need apply. At this Alberta Bicycle Association-sanctioned event, all participants must hold valid licenses from the Union Cycliste Internationale.

Once you get a look at the event courses, the serious factor only heats up. The Prologue is a short, steep 1.5-kilometre course that stars a ride-by of the storied Fairmont Banff Springs. In the “Race of Truth,” also known as the Individual Time Trial (ITT), riders blast out of the gate in 30-second intervals and fight for the best finish time on a hilly 21-kilometre loop. The 800-metre Criterium offers fast action and excitement as cyclists streak through the streets of Banff, twisting, turning and pressing for an advantage. And the Tunnel Mountain Road Race features 250 cyclists all vying for victory in a fast, challenging course that runs through downtown Banff and along Tunnel Mountain.

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It’s no wonder that thousands of spectators line the streets of this little mountain town to cheer on the competitors. But it’s not all guts and glory. For the kids, there’s a friendly little race sponsored by a local restaurant with three age categories, including one for 5-year-olds and under. And for everyone who thinks cyclists should just lighten up a bit, there’s Cruise for a Cause, in which participants are encouraged to put on funny costumes and ride in support of a Banff not-for-profit organization. In between, everyone is welcome to roam around town and check out what the locals get up to when they’re not inviting wild-eyed cyclists to tear up the town.

For more information, please visit www.banfflakelouise.com

Photos: © Andre’s Perdomo Photography and Courtesy Banff Lake Louise Tourism

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