Pledges are coming in by the hour as riders and MS supporters prepare for this weekend’s Thompson River Ride.
An estimated 150 cyclists of all ages and abilities will pedal routes on Sunday ranging from 12 to 100 kilometres as they help to fund research into multiple sclerosis as well as programs and services aimed at easing the burden on MS patients in Kamloops.
“We’re still taking registrations as we speak,” said event organizer Trina Radford as she tended to last-minute planning on Tuesday.
Radford is the manager of the MS Society’s Kamloops-area chapter.
Over the next few days, she and her team of volunteers will spend every spare minute making sure Sunday’s event runs smoothly — especially the portion called the 100K Century Ride.
The Century Ride will take cyclists on a mostly flat route from Riverside Park out along Westsyde Road to the McLure Ferry terminal and back.
“That’s new for Kamloops. It’s the first Century, our pilot year, and we’re already getting registration,” said Radford.
The 100K route is expected to attract advanced cyclists and those with the necessary endurance. Radford said riders will be expected to complete the Century in under five hours.
“They’re starting at 9 a.m. and we’re closing the route at 2 p.m.,” she said. “So, for the majority of them, they’ll come in well under that.”
Most of the MS Bike Tour’s riders, however, will stick to the shorter routes of 12, 28, 40 and 57 kilometres.
And their pledge counts are climbing daily at www.msbiketours.ca.
As of Tuesday, the top individual fundraiser was Dino Gnoato at $1,500 in pledges. He’s a veteran participant and is expected to surpass $2,000 by Sunday, said Radford.
The top rookie rider as of Tuesday was Charlotte Kinzie with $750 in pledges.
“This is her first time out and she’s going to take home a prize if she keeps it up,” said Radford.
The top online team as of Tuesday was Team TaBrew at $1,550.
“They’ve got great team spirit,” said Radford. “They come out in red feather boas. They ride for some very personal reasons but they definitely bring out the fun.”
All three No. 1 spots could change hands multiple times before Sunday as riders bring in last-minute donations.
Donors are welcome to pledge any rider or team online.
Spectators are also welcome on the day of the Thompson River Ride.
Start times are staggered from 8:45 to 9 a.m. at Riverside Park but spectators can cheer riders at any point along the North Kamloops portion of the Rivers Trail.