Last winter, the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CMBC) announced that it would no longer be holding its 24 Hours of Light festival after 18 years.
At the time, CMBC president Sammy Salter said the board and volunteers felt the festival had run its course, with the enthusiasm no longer there, however, that CMBC would be holding a new event.
On July 13, the inaugural Klondike Krankfest will be held at Mount McIntyre. The club had been planning for a weekend-long festival, but that fell through.
“We had in mind this festival at Mount Sima and the folks at Sima seemed keen on it,” Salter said recently.
“The original plan was to have to have a weekend festival, chairlift-assisted riding, a couple of races, kids activities, food trucks, the whole deal.”
For 24 Hours of Light, cyclists would ride as many laps around a course in a 24-hour period over the summer solstice weekend.
“So this would be more of a festival where you would camp out and lots of mouton bike stuff going on,” said Salter.
“We were going to have live music and stuff going on, but it wasn’t just about doing laps and camping out. So very different than what we had done in the past.”
In the fall, Salter said the club felt the timing was right to end 24 Hours of Light but after a few things out their control, like volunteers leaving and rising costs they had to pull out because it was too much risk for the club to take on.
Although the original idea for the Klondike Krankfest may have fallen through, the new weekend planned will still have lots of activities for everyone participating.
“So rather than outright cancel the event, what we decided to do was reframe the event into something smaller-scale back into the grassroots style,” said Salter. “(It will) still incorporate some of the fun festival feel.”
Because of some new volunteers CMBC had step up when they heard it was about to get cancelled, they were still able to get an event together.
“They really wanted something to happen,” said Salter. “So we are going to run an eight-hour lap-style race similar to 24 Hours of Light.
It is going to be pretty low-key.
“When I say ‘low-key,’ we aren’t going to have a timing system; it’s all about fun, so if you want to race time your own race and will be self-recorded laps. There will still be team options as well.”
As well as the eight-hour race, Klondike Krankfest will also feature activities for kids.
“The plan is bike decorating and just a really fun family day,” said Salter.
For all the riders interested, there will also be advanced skill clinics for youth and adults. Dylan Sherrard and Massey Baker will be leading the instruction period and bring a wealth of advanced riding, instructing, enduro and downhill racing experience.
“There has been a really high demand for skills clinic this year so we thought we will still run them, and it still makes it a weekend event,” said Salter.
The kids’ clinic will be held on the Saturday and the adults on the Sunday.
The goal for Klondike Krankfest is to be a celebration of cycling.
“It’s an opportunity to bring people together and have fun riding bikes,” said Salter.
Although the original idea did not come to fruition, Salter said it doesn’t mean it can’t be re-explored.
“There is always the possibility to revisit these things next year,” said Salter. “It’s not off the table; it is just what we were able to do this year.”
Salter said the festival will really be fun for families and those still in the Yukon.
“It’s less of a commitment than 24 Hours of Light because it’s just one day,” said Salter. “We had a lot of kid stuff at the last few 24 Hours of Light, and we wanted to maintain that.
“It brings a lot of people out. People are like, “I want to go biking but I can’t because I want to watch the kids.’ But now people can watch the kids while another does the lap and switch off. It makes the event more inclusive.
“The fast competitive people can go as fast as they want and the slower people can go as slow as they want.”
Salter said the routes won’t be too difficult because the club wants the course to be accessible to everyone.
Klondike Krankfest will feature a short course and a long course, but the course design has not yet been released.