Ride Don’t Hide is adding an 88-kilometre route this year to McLure and back

The organizers of the annual Ride Don’t Hide event have added something new they think will appeal to Ironman athletes who like to push themselves to the extreme. In addition to the 10- and 23-kilometre routes cyclists can follow — routes that take them from Centennial Park in Westsyde down to Rivershore Park (and back again for those who want to go farther) — this year there is an 88-kilometre pedal from the Westsyde park to the McLure ferry and back.

It is limited to 88 cyclists and those who raise $300 in donations will receive a custom jersey attesting to their lengthy trek, said Shelly Trudeau of the Kamloops branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, sponsor of the event.

For those who don’t cycle or don’t have a bicycle, there is also a five-kilometre walking route during the Sunday, June 24, event.

It’s the sixth year for the ride in Kamloops. Last year, about 150 riders took part. In the past, just a few communities have adopted the fundraiser created by Vancouver teacher Michael Schratter. This year, it has gone national, with CMHA branches across the country getting involved.

Schratter spent 14 months pedalling 48,000 kilometres around the world on a campaign to create a positive image of a person living with a mental illness. He travelled through six continents and 32 countries, writing mental-health columns for a Vancouver newspaper every couple of weeks.

His trip was supported by the CMHA and led to the June events in Canada. While the focus is on confronting the stigma of mental health, there’s another practical reason for the ride, Trudeau said, noting the money helps keep the local branch’s programs running.

In addition to the ride, there will be a barbecue, entertainment, guest speakers and prizes. There will also be a fundraising dinner on Sunday, June 10, at the Fox ’N’ Hounds Pub. Tickets are $15 and available by calling 250-374-0440, extension 101. To register for the ride, go online to ridedonthide.com.

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