A cyclist participates in the inaugural Tripleshot CrossFondo race last year. This year’s race takes place on Saturday, Oct. 14, beginning at 9 a.m. (Photo courtesy of the TripleShot Cycling Club)

A cyclist participates in the inaugural Tripleshot CrossFondo race last year. This year’s race takes place on Saturday, Oct. 14, beginning at 9 a.m. (Photo courtesy of the TripleShot Cycling Club)

Crossfondo race pedals into the West Shore

Event loops around the Highlands, Francis King, Thetis lake parks

Mix the challenges of cyclocross racing with the long distances associated with the Gran Fondo, and you get the Tripleshot CrossFondo.

The second annual race, and Victoria’s only mass participation off-road cycling event, begins at the Vancouver Island Technology Park (4464 Markham St.) this weekend.

Cyclists loop through the Highlands, Hartland Mountain Bike Park, Camosun College, Francis King and Thetis Lake regional parks and through a number of private properties that landowners have opened up for the day, before finishing at the tech park with festivities and a medal ceremony.

“The large loop is the attraction for the event,” said Lister Farrar, a youth coach with the Tripleshot cycling club that is organizing the race. “There are places you have to get off your bike and push or carry it. The feature for us is going for a nice long ride in places you can’t normally go the rest of the year.”

The event is a fundraiser for the club’s youth racing team to support the development of year-round training for riders between the ages of 11 and 22, as well as the South Vancouver Island Nature Trail Society to support its mission of connecting trail systems in the region. Last year’s inaugural event saw 120 riders who helped raise $5,000 to support the youth team and $1,650 for the trail society. This year Farrar hopes to match or exceed that amount.

Saanich’s Andy Pitre heard about the race by word of mouth last year and decided to give it a try. While he admits it was challenging at times, the cyclocross rider said it introduced him to a new world of cycling.

“The nature of the course took you through all sorts of little off-road sections, which was really fun and challenging,” Pitre said. “It was so neat to link together so many sections of trails that you had no idea linked up and played so well together.”

The Tripleshot CrossFondo, which includes 20 and 40 kilometre options and takes where from two to five hours to complete, takes place Sunday, Oct. 15 beginning at 9 a.m. Registration is open at 8 a.m. and is $79 for the short course and $99 for the long course. Kids under the age of 16 are $45 for both the short or long course.

For more information, visit tripleshotcrossfondo.ca.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com