Riders young, young at heart and downright fast are gearing up to hit the track at the West Shore velodrome this month for the B.C. Provincial Track Championships.
The competition at West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood, happening Aug. 19 to 21, features races of various lengths for age groups from under-13 up to masters, as well as elite categories.
The weekend kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday with team sprints – riders start together on the same side – and four-member team pursuit, with starting positions on opposite sides of the track, having the first medals up for grabs.
Also that night is the thrilling Madison event, a set-distance tag-team relay that sees riders take turns riding at speed and switching off every so often with rested teammates.
Saturday’s schedule gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and includes B.C. championship events in time trial, omnium (multi-event) and the unique Keirin races, where riders follow a motorcycle around the track in single file for two laps, then sprint for two more after the motorbike peels off. Finishing off Saturday is an event called the Colwood Crawl, a one-lap race that literally requires riders to move slowly around the track.
Sunday action gets underway at 9 a.m. with the flying 200, which sees riders do two-and-a-half laps of the 333-metre track and get timed on their final 200 metres, which determines seedings for that day’s provincial races in individual sprints and pursuit.
The West Shore velodrome, no longer used for high-level international competition, has since the 2010s provided a good training and competition ground for young riders and older individuals looking to physically challenge themselves.
Past years have seen locals Gillian Charlton and Jay Lamoureux go on to medal in track racing at the Olympics, while more recently, Victoria Tripleshot Racing Club alumnus Riley Pickrell won a stage in the Giro d’Italia Giovani (the Baby Giro) in June and competed at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in both road and track cycling.
Among the 25 to 30 local competitors expected at provincials will be Mel Pemble, already a Paralympian in alpine skiing and working toward adding a Paralympic Summer Games appearance to her resume.
The events are free to attend for spectators and parking is available onsite at West Shore Parks and Recreation. For more information, visit gvva.bc.ca.
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