mud, sweat and cheers

🕔Sep 07, 2005

Late one night, four years ago, a red-haired chick, with a love for rock climbing and any sport with a wild side, discussed Terrace with an equally enthusiastic friend.

Excited about how much the region offered sport lovers, and awed by local ability, they asked themselves: Wouldn’t it be cool to put on something that showcased the Northwest’s gorgeous scenery and brought athletes together to strut their stuff?

Sarah Zimmerman was that redhead, and the next day she called Ruins, a local board shop, to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring some sort of challenge. Ruins got on board immediately, and that easily Northwest B.C.’s first adventure sports series was underway.

It continued to be a breeze to get support. “I never had to say please more than once to any sponsor,” Zimmerman says happily. “People were always so excited about it.” And they remain excited—the Terrace Standard and Hawkair Adventure Challenge celebrates its fourth anniversary this July.

One huge change promises to make the 2005 challenge even more challenging; all the gruelling, excruciating, nothing-but-pure-fun events will be packed into one weekend instead of four. The July long weekend’s events include an open water swim, a mountain foot race, a rock climbing challenge and an endurance mountain biking event. On top of those, a new event promises to work every muscle and test every bit of the athlete’s endurance—the Psycho Cycle.

Replacing the downhill mountain bike race, this ride combines road, cross-country and downhill biking, and hiking. Also new is the addition of a team category permitting teams of four to register. Of course, some things never should change and the Adventure Challenge continues to offer amazing prizes, generous sponsors, and awesome competitors, Zimmerman points out.

2004’s Adventure Challenge attracted more than 160 participants—a number that she says this year’s Challenge is sure to beat. “Holding the Challenge over July long weekend will attract more people in every category. In previous years, out-of-towners couldn’t make it to all four weekends—people have to work. They have limited holiday time. This way, people only need three days off to take part in all five events.”

The hope of attracting larger numbers isn’t the only motivation behind containing the Adventure Challenge to one wild weekend though—it’s the desire to step up one of the main things that attracts athletes in the first place: the challenge.

It’s one thing to compete four weekends in a row; it’s another thing altogether to compete five times in three days. “Athletes will still battle it out for points, bragging rights and huge prize packages,” says Zimmerman. “But this year their endurance, stamina and overall fitness will truly be put to the test because they won’t have a week to recover between events.”

Terrace’s unpredictable coastal weather contributes to the Challenge too.

Contestants may sweat out every event in blistering heat, in dire need of sun block, caps and shades. On the other hand, they may find themselves dripping wet with rain, slipping and sliding in mud as they make their way over trails on foot and on bikes. Or they might get a combo—hot sun, cold rain, some gusting wind. The element of surprise that nature provides just adds to the fun—and makes completing each event that much more of a feat.

Whether you plan to risk the mud and work up a sweat, or whether you just want to come out and cheer on your favourite athletes, this year’s Adventure Challenge will the challenge of them all. Are you up to it?

Adventure Challenge 2005

July 1

Event One: Ruins Board Shop’s open water swim. Adults swim two laps around the 750-metre triangular course at Lakelse Lake; juniors swim one lap. Youngest competitors are challenged to a 500-metre race. Races start bright and early at 8 a.m. at the Kinsmen Kids Kamp, located on First Ave. at Lakelse Lake.

Event Two: The Skeena Valley Runners Club presents the 29th annual King of the Mountain foot race—an 8.5-kilometre course that climbs around and over gorgeous Terrace Mountain. Start time is 2 p.m. at the Terrace arena.

July 2

Event Three: Azad Adventures’ outdoor rock climbing competition at the Chist Creek forest recreation site across Hwy37 from Onion Lake. In this top-rope (climbers must be secured by a rope at all times) timed event, climbers test their skills on progressively difficult routes. In case of rain, the event will become a bouldering competition on pre-established routes at Azad Adventures in Terrace. Start time is 9 a.m.

Event Four: All Seasons Source for Sports Psycho Cycle. Riders will begin at the Terrace arena, ride up to the Terrace Mountain trailhead, carry bikes to the top of the trail, complete a short downhill course then ride on the road to Northwest Community College. This tough event tests your endurance, versatility and fitness. Start time is 4 p.m.

July 3

Event Five: McBike’s Eight Hours of Onion Lake endurance mountain biking event. Solo riders, or teams of up to four people, complete to finish the most laps around a 6-kilometre course. Event starts at 10 a.m. and finishes at 6 p.m. Each individual rider accumulates five points per lap regardless of whether they are competing solo or on a team.

Grand prizes are awarded immediately following this event at the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club’s warming hut at the Onion Lake cross-country ski trails.

For more info, contact Sarah Zimmerman at 638-7283, e-mail, or visit