Melissa Lowenberg and Devon Moonie were the fastest woman and man during this year's Ashcroft Hellclimb.

Melissa Lowenberg and Devon Moonie were the fastest woman and man during this year's Ashcroft Hellclimb.

New record set at Ashcroft Hellclimb

Annual Hellclimb has lower turnout than usual but the weather isn't as hot

The 2015 Ashcroft Hellclimb was held on June 21. It’s a bicycle race that starts in Ashcroft, then heads up Hwy. 97C to the brake check at the top of the hill on the way to Logan Lake. The hill has a 3,000 foot elevation gain in 18 kilometres; if that isn’t enough of a challenge, then the extremely hot temperatures make it worse.

This year, however, the weather was perfect, with a slight tailwind for the racers. Twenty-two racers took part, most of whom were from Kamloops, with almost all of them from the Multisports Solutions training team (the Tribe) or from the Interior Grasslands cycling club. There’d normally be lots of local riders, but there were other events in town that conflicted with the Hellclimb.

The 2015 race was a bit different from previous years, as all the riders were experienced. Some years the hill itself is a challenge, and a large accomplishment for some less experienced riders. All of this year’s participants were there to beat their best time, or try to place on the podium.

The top two riders who received Grand Prizes were Devon Moonie and Melissa Lowenberg, both from Kamloops. Melissa has won “Queen of the mountain” in the past, and this year she beat her own best time with a clocking of 1:02:01. Devon now has the official record time of 46:52. That’s an average speed of 23km/hour, all uphill. I’ve ridden with people who can’t do 23 km/hour on flat ground with a tailwind! Devon is an aspiring professional cyclist who is racing this week at the Canadian road race National Championships in Quebec.

With a great post-race barbecue and the awards at Heritage Park, all the riders left happy, and with a promise to come back next year. Thank you to all who came out to ride; to Safety Mart and Saputo for donating the Milk 2 Go; and Spoke ‘N Motion, Runners Sole, and the Interior Grasslands Cycling Club for keeping the riders safe and for doing the timing.

Wayne Little