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Take your fitness to a new level (and support a good cause) with a ride up Cypress Mountain

Push your limits and raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation by biking up Cypress Mountain

I remember the first time I rode up Cypress Mountain in the summer of 1998. I was in my late 20s, single, living in Kits and really into mountain biking.

Feeling the effects of one too many pints at The Kings Head pub the night before, I woke up to a spectacular summer morning. I recall the weather that summer being a lot like what we're experiencing this year. Living in a rainforest you have to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, so I set out to ride to the top of Cypress on my mountain bike from my apartment near Kits Beach, thinking this would clear my head. Such is the folly of youth.

Biking over the Lions Gate Bridge and up the highway to the start of the climb wasn't so bad. But as I began to climb so did the temperature and I was soon out of water and Gatorade. I had some money and was hoping the vending machines at the lodge were working.

Biking to the Top of Cypress Mountain

Of course I had no knowledge of how long the climb was. I just kept looking at the elevation markers as I passed them and wondered if I should just turn around. Of course that would have been the sensible thing to do, so I just kept pedaling on. Such is the energy of youth.

"How much farther to the top?" I yelled to a couple of roadies who were heading back down the mountain. "Just keep going!" they replied. It wasn't quite the answer I was looking for but they sped by too quickly for me to ask for clarification. And so I soldiered on, my sweat glands now a faucet trying desperately to cool my core temperature down.

I finally made it to the top and by the grace of God the vending machines were operational and I chugged down a bottle of water and a bottle of blue Powerade to quench my thirst. Grabbing a couple of more bottles for the ride home I turned around and enjoyed the descent and ride back to my apartment. In the end, it turned out to be an about a four-hour ride which did clear my head.

A Better Way to Ride Up Cypress: The Cypress Challenge

If you're looking for a more civilized way to challenge yourself by riding up Cypress Mountain, I'd recommend signing up for the Glotman-Simpson Cypress Challenge which takes place on August 17.

The event features a 12 km and a 5 km route. Both start at Mulgrave School (2330 Cypress Bowl Lane), with the full route going up to the Hollyburn Cross Country ski area and the shorter route turning around at the First Peak Look-Out.

Proceeds from the event go to the BC Cancer Foundation to help fight pancreatic cancer. Participation is by donation, with a minimum of $25 suggested for the early bird registration until August 8 and $40 after that. This isn't a race and you don't need to be an elite cyclist to participate. All you need is a decent bike, a helmet, $25 and the determination to climb up a mountain. I'd also recommend not staying out late at The King's Head the night before.