Road racing has enjoyed something of a resurgence of late, so what better way to showcase that than by holding a four-stage cycling event?
The Interior Grasslands Cycling Club will be playing host to the Arrow Transportation System Masters Event on Saturday and Sunday. The event will start with the Cap-It time trial and the Taboo hill-climb on Saturday, with the Interfor road race and the Spoke criterium scheduled for Sunday.
It's a new event for the IGCC, which hasn't played host to an open race for some time.
"Years ago, we held a couple each year," said the IGCC's Peter Bartel. "But then the club went dormant for a few years - lots of riders went to mountain biking."
The Kamloops Bicycle Club was started in 1972, changed its name to the Kamloops Wheelmen a few years later, and then changed back to the KBC not long after that.
The KBC was dormant until 2004, when interest started to soar.
"A lot of people wanted to come back to road racing . . . it's a completely different sport (than mountain biking," Bartel said. "We revived the club . . . actually, it was the local speed skating club looking for a place to cross-train."
The club was the Kamloops Long Blades, with Terry Norlander and John Froese leading the charge. There was a contest to rename the club, and Interior Grasslands Cycling Club has stuck.
Now, Bartel said, there are 91 members, "and more people coming out all the time."
The club holds Thursday night club races and occasional Sunday rides, and both are well-attended.
Bartel said the gang at IGCC decided in the fall to play host to a pair of open races this season. The first is this weekend's, with an open Heffley Creek-to-Sun Peaks race scheduled for Sept. 23.
Both races are under the auspices of the B.C. Masters Cycling Association.
"They're a non-political organization - everyone is interested in the sport first," Bartel said of the BCMCA. "It's comforting to know we have their support. Hopefully we prove we can do this and make it a successful event."
Masters cycling is for those over 30, and this weekend's event will be divided by five-year age groups. There will be prizes for winning each stage, along with overall winners.
Bartel said he expects anywhere from 60 to 100 riders to participate.
The time trial and the road race will use the same area, essentially, starting and ending at the stockyards on Dallas Drive. The criterium, a 1.6-kilometre course featuring riders circling for 45 minutes before completing a set number of laps to finish, also will be out in Dallas.
The hill-climb, the toughest of the four - but generally the most popular for the club - has riders heading out on Chief Louis Way from behind the Husky and riding up Mount Lolo.
Bartel said there is something for everyone.
"A 56km road race is not that great a distance . . . and the road race and time trial in the same venue - they're very doable and guys aren't going to be falling off their bikes totally exhausted," Bartel said. "And the Mount Lolo hill-climb is just beautiful. There are some very challenging steep spots."
Bartel said there should be some excellent athletes competing, including Kamloops' Ian Fillinger, who won the 24-hour time trial championship in California in November, and possibly Chris McNeil, a Canadian age-group time trial champion.
Just last month, McNeil broke the IGCC's record for the Mount Lolo hill-climb - he broke the record held by Olaf Stana of Vernon, who may also be competing on the weekend.