More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Tripleshot CrossFondo rides across Saanich Peninsula

More than 250 cyclists took part in mystery-course race

More than 250 riders sweated, struggled and in some cases swore their way up and down rural parts of Saanich and the Saanich Peninsula during the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo.

Held under grey skies, the off-road race drew 37 riders for the short course of 25 kilometres and 220 competing in the long course across 45 kilometres, with the actual course – save the starting and finish line –unknown to the riders. But these basic coordinates do not capture the complexitites that unfolded behind the scenes that allowed the race to happen in the first place.

“It was challenging, but rewarding,” said organizer Lister Farrar, when asked about holding an event during a pandemic. “I know it sounds a bit trite, but when we put the word out to the landowners to say, ‘would you be interested if we could figure a way to get Vancouver Island Health Authority approve it,’ they all said yes. It told us that there was some sort of need out there.”

While planning for the race had started before the start of the pandemic, the pandemic itself forced organizers to change the format toward a time-trial race, with riders leaving the starting gate at Vancouver Island Technology Park individually 30 seconds apart.

RELATED: Cyclists ready for annual secret CrossFondo course

Unable to knock on the doors of land owners to seek their permission to their land, organizers also resorted to re-tracing last year’s mystery course for the most part, albeit in reverse. The event’s social highlight — a posh lunch — also fell victim to the pandemic. But the pandemic also sparked innovation and ingenuity in the form of lunch served in a Tour-de-France musette bag and a self-made, powerful, no-touch, bike-cleaning station that reduced congestion.

Farrar said this year’s event was a touch-and-go affair.

“We were very close to cancelling, like everybody,” he said. But his experience as a cycling coach also led him to the conclusion that a time-trial format would fit the spirit of the times. The question about the right format, however, was only of many.

“I was quite intense, with lots of discussion in the committee,” he said. “Are we being responsible? Should we even want to be doing this?”

In the end, all involved parties signalled their go-head for the race, which also serves as a fundraiser for the Tripleshot Youth cycling program, the South Island Mountain Bike Society, the Nature Trail Society and other causes.

In the end, the format did not significantly change the riding experience on the course, a mix of off-road trails and technical single-track, a balance between cyclocross and mountain biking. “People are riding essentially alone most of the time,” said Farrar. And while theoretically a race, the competitive element is secondary, he said.

For first-time observers, the event had all the hallmarks of a gruelling test of endurance, but even that might not be an accurate description. “I would say that there are a lot of people who don’t even treat it that way,” said Farar. “They treat it as an adventure. They are treating it as somewhere exotic to ride, to see what they can’t see the rest of the time.”

In fact, Sunday’s event had the feel of an outing with friends and family, said Farrar, with some family members riding together, others sticking with and waiting patiently for their respective riding partners.

True, observers could hear a handful of salty words under the breath of riders, as their wheels wobbled through a muddy, uphill section just off West Saanich Road. But organizers received far more thumbs up and smiles of approval.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Just Posted

The realignment of Highway 14 between Connie and Glinz Lake roads in Sooke will take more than a year to complete. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
The realignment of Highway 14 between Connie and Glinz Lake roads in Sooke will take more than a year to complete. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Patience requested from drivers as work begins on realignment of Highway 14 in Sooke

Construction between Connie and Glinz Lake roads expected to take 1½ years

A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)
Central Saanich postpones weekend Winter Market, organizers upset

Lorea Tomsin said municipality’s move runs counter to provincial direction

As cyclists and pedestrians pass by at Humboldt and Government streets, a garden of blooming black-eyed Susans brightens up the northwest corner of the Fairmont Empress Hotel property on a partially sunny November afternoon. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Keep your umbrella handy for the next while around Greater Victoria

November has lived up to its reputation as one of the rainiest months of the year

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Greater Victoria MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Transportation, Indigenous relations, children and family development ministries headed by locals

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read