Cyclists wind their way through a field during the 2017 Tripleshot Cross Fondo in Saanich. This year’s Cross Fondo is Sunday, Oct. 14, starting and finishing at VIATEC Park. (Submitted)

Secret bike race has no map, uses private property in Saanich, Highlands

Cross Fondo rides through horse paddocks, farmer fields

For the third straight year the Tripleshot Cross Fondo will traverse private property to connect trails and parks in Saanich and the Highlands.

The property owners are all on board, helping to connect the 25-kilometre or 40km routes. (The shorter route was billed as 20km but ended up stretching out to 25km.)

Sunday morning’s cyclocross fondo is not a race, but a participation ride, though many people will be riding it hard. And they’ll be doing so without knowing the route in advance, as it is kept hush hush. Riders will race, or ride, flag to flag on a route they learn as they ride. You might as well leave the bike computer off for this ride, because it’s not be posted to Strava (well, if you do, it would be considered bad form).

Riders use mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes though it leans mostly towards cyclocross.

“It is uncharted territory and we do have an element of secrecy,” said organizer Lister Farrar from Tripleshot, who wouldn’t release the number of cyclists. “We post signs along the route and there is always a flag visible up ahead. You have to pay attention. It’s surprising people will go through the wrong way even with five visible flags.”

The fondo starts and ends at VIATEC Park in West Saanich. One third of the route is on private land. The bigger ride winds its way westward to the Highlands.

READ MORE: Cross Fondo pedals into West Shore

It’s popular among cyclists because you can ride somewhere that you can’t ride the rest of the year, added Farrar.

“It’s like a garden tour, a once a year event where you go into back to someone’s yard, so it is important you don’t go back to their yard at other times.”

Sunday’s fondo is a little different than the traditional form of cyclocross which dates back a century when, after the summer cycling season, European road cyclists would switch-in knobby tires on their road bikes and slide around in the autumn mud. Today cyclocross races are generally a 2.5km loop done multiple times. They also use additional features that force the rider off their bike, such as stairs, or barriers, and grassy inclines that become slick with mud.

This fondo is a hybrid of cyclocross style on one long 25km and 40km route. It includes single track mountain bike trails that are mild, such as green or blue rating (green the easiest, blue intermediate, and black being for advanced only), gravel roads, farm fields, cow paddocks, horse paddocks, stretches of pea gravel and ditches that might have water.

“It’s a little rougher than normal cyclocross but nothing that is as technical as mountain biking,” Farrar said.

The fondo is growing in popularity and is capped in the low hundreds to limit the damage caused by the bikes. In the two previous years Tripleshot volunteers who organize the fondo have offered to go back to rake or remediate any of the land that was used during the ride. No one has taken them up on the offer.

Money raised from the event actually goes to the Southern Vancouver Island Nature Trails Society that lobbies to connect the network of trails in Greater Victoria.

The Tripleshot Cross Fondo benefits in large part by a volunteer base from Tripleshot’s successful youth program and their parents.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

reporter@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

South Vancouver Island B.C. Hydro Customers without power

Due to high winds nearly 3,900 B.C. Hydro customer will be out of power

Sidney signs off on 2020 budget with 1.79 per cent tax increase

Budget also includes additional funding for Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Search begins for two missing scouts near Sooke

Crews headed to Jordan River area after receiving call just after 2 p.m.

Scaffolding falls due to strong winds at Millstream Village Sunday afternoon

No injuries or vehicles damaged, according to West Shore RCMP

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read