In a recent news conference, organizers of the P.E.I. Bike Fest announced that Slemon Park Hotel & Conference Centre has become the title sponsor for the event.
A leader in aerospace, conference hosting, is now a lead supporter of bicycle racing on P.E.I.
"Having Slemon Park Hotel & Conference Centre support this event ensures that riders will have easy access to the best of accommodations during their stay on the Island."
Says Ken Trenholm, one of the organizer's for the Island event.
"The support of Slemon Park Hotel & Conference Centre sends a strong message to the Island community that this company understands the benefits of a physically healthly and active community."
And there will be a lot of active bicyclists around in mid-July, explains the organizers.
"Unquestionability," explains Trenholm, "this event will bring the best riders to P.E.I. and then crown the overall best male and female cyclist in the Maritimes."
This "must-see" event has been what many Islanders have been training for during the last few months. However, local riders who do not have a racing license can register in a Citizen Category for the event and although they will not be racing the elite riders, they will have an experience of a lifetime. Categories from under 18 years of age to 55 years plus are included in this event.
This P.E.I. stage event is the finale of the Grand Championship Series of races, on the heals of two races in Nova Scotia and two races in New Brunswick. All of the riders in contention will be on P.E.I.
This will be the first time in the history of Maritime SuperWeek that P.E.I. is the final stop on the Maritime SuperWeek schedule.
Bicycling stage racing is not entirely new to P.E.I. Over 15 years ago, Dalvay-by-the-Sea sponsored the Tour de Plagues event that also brought top maritime and national riders to the province.
The Slemon Park Hotel and Conference Centre P.E.I. Bike Fest features three stages of racing over the July 15 and July 16 weekend.
The first event is a 12.4 kilometer time trial around the picturesque road side at Indian River on Saturday July 15. Cyclists will leave from St. Mary's Church at one minute intervals and then loop around Hamilton Road to return back to the finish location. A good spectator location, other than the start / finish, will be on the hill just before turning on route 20 on the Hamilton Road.
The second event is a criterium or bicycle lap race held at Summerside's history airport, Slemon Park. The crit will feature quick turns, sprints, intense riding, all in a closed-off to traffic course on the Slemon Park airport runway. With three separate starts for the afternoon, and over 100 cyclists expected to test their speed on the airport runway, there is little doubt about the excitement in the air.
The third stage is on Sunday as a challenging course starting in Kensington and heading toward Malpeque, then heading east on route 20 until reaching route 101, where the course returns to the Kensington area. This course features a guaranteed sprint to the finish on Pleasant Street in Kensington following some hard climbs.
The National Cycling Centre in Dieppe is bringing their photo finish camera to the event. The camera itself costs $15,000 and will be used at the finish of the criterium and the road race.
Aside from the racing, a Kids Bike Rodeo will take place on Saturday at Slemon Park airport at 2 pm to 3 pm, prior to the criterium. There is no cost for participation in the Bike Rodeo and donations to the Children's Wish Foundation will be accepted.
For more information, visit www.summersidecycling.com or call 888-3878. Online registration as well as on-site registration is available.