The trails of Pidherny recreation site on the Nechako River cutbanks have long been an off-road paradise for mountain bike riders.
Known for its challenging steep slopes and downhilll trails built for speed, as well as a wide variety of gentler cross-country paths through the forests, Pidherny will be put to the test next weekend when the Prince George Cycling Club hosts its enduro race on Sunday, July 24.
"The enduro is not really a downhill race and it's not really a cross-country race, it's its own discipline," said Andrew Steele, the PGCC's mountain bike director.
"You hop on your bike and climb to the top and you get timed for the downhill stages only, but you have to be riding the climbs as well. It'll feature four or five trails at Pidherny and the climbs will primarily be on the forest service road. People have to have physical fitness to endure the climbs but we're not timing the climbs, the emphasis is more on the descent."
One of the climbs will follow the Kitchen Sink trail, a 3.5-kilometre path which leads to the top parking lot, not far from the entrance to the city's Foothills landfill site. Each rider will have to complete the climb in advance of a cutoff time before they begin the four descent stages. If not, they are disqualified. The overall winner will be the rider with the shortest cumulative descent time.
Organizers will be using the club's new transponder timing system for the first time in a mountain bike event.
The PGCC is also planning its Hot Day at Otway races, Aug. 6-7 at Otway Nordic Centre. The Throwdown Society event will include cross-country races as well as kids races and bike clinics, ending with a three-stage enduro race on the second day.
"We had 71 riders for the first one last year and this year we're targeting for over 100 riders," said Steele. "We're advertising pretty extensively in surrounding communities and we're trying hard to bring in a lot of people in from out of town to introduce them to some of the trails we have in P.G."
Hot Day at Otway will be the third and final race in the PGCC's enduro series. Tom Skinner and Lynda Foreman were the respective male and female winners in the first race of the year, dubbed the Rustchucker, held May 8 at Pidherny.
Entry forms will be available at Ruckus Skis Boards & Bikes, Cyclelogic and Koops Bikes. Riders can also register the day of the race. Entry fees are set at $15 for each event for PGCC members and $25 for non-members. The fee for both events is $25 for members and $45 for non-members.
The club is hosting a trail building night on Monday from 6:30-8;30 p.m. Group rides are planned for the evenings of July 18 and Aug. 1 and a ladies-only group ride is set for the evening of July 25.
Go to the club's website at pgcyclingclub.ca for more information.