New trails in West Side Wheel Up 

Bike race raises funds for Paralympic hopefuls

The 2008 West Side Wheel Up, which runs on Saturday, Sept. 6, is going to be a little different in its 15 th year.

Although the course does change slightly from year to year, participants in this year’s event will get to ride sections of a new climb up Lower Sproatt near the start of the race, and finish on the new section of “A River Runs Through It.”

The trail is slightly longer than a Loonie race, starting in Function Junction and following the old Millar Creek Road to Alta Lake Road. After that it’s a climb up Lower Sproatt, down to the Beaver Lake loop above Stonebridge, and back up to the top of Stonebridge for Upper and Lower Beaver Pass. The route then follows Rainbow Trail and Bob’s Rebob back to Alta Lake Road, followed by the entire length of A River Runs Through It. The record for the ride, 59 minutes and 11 seconds, was set by Matt Ryan last year, but times will likely be longer this year with the new sections of trail.

Phil Chew is the organizer of the race since 2000, when founder Les Clare suffered a spinal injury. That year the event was held as a fundraiser for Clare and his family, but in 2001 Clare suggested that the proceeds go to the B.C. Disabled Alpine Ski Team, where Phil Chew — a former Paralympian — is now the head coach. Specifically, the money will go towards equipment and camps for team members.

The event includes the race, and an after party barbecue and celebration near Rainbow Park. There is also a raffle for prizes donated by local businesses, including a season pass to Whistler-Blackcomb.

The entry fee is $25, which includes the race and after-race party. As always, the proceeds go to a worthy cause.

“We’re coming up to the Paralympics, and in 2010 there will be a few athletes that worked their way up from the B.C. Para-Alpine Ski Team to the national team that were helped along the way by money raised in the West Side Wheel Up,” said Chew. Some of those athletes will be racing in 2010, like Matt Hallatt, Brad Lennea, Andrea Dziewior, Josh Dueck and others. Other members of the B.C. team are hoping to make the cut when qualifying events get underway this season.

“This event is a big supporter of disabled skiing, and everyone who takes part in the race can be proud of contributing some funding to these guys.”

The registration fee is $25, which includes the race, post-race party and a raffle ticket. More raffle tickets are available for purchase before and after the race.

You need to be a member of WORCA or a Cycling B.C.-affiliated club to take part.

Registration gets underway at 10 a.m. at the entrance to Function Junction, and the race starts at noon. Most riders finish in under two hours. There will be a pack truck so riders can bring a change of clothes for the finish.

If you can volunteer, or would like to donate any prizes to the raffle, contact organizer Phil Chew at 604-932-2110.

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