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Cyclists supporting Ethiopian school

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Christine Gordon of Kelowna breezes along during the main event of the 2011 Test of Humanity mountain biking race in Summerland. This year’s race will be held Sunday at Cartwright Mountain in Summerland.

 

More than 250 cyclists of all ages are registered for the second annual Test of Humanity mountain bike race Sunday in Summerland in support of Canadian Humanitarian projects in Ethiopia.

Last year’s inaugural event generated $40,000 to help Canadian Humanitarian build a new school in Gindo Town, Ethiopia. Some of the proceeds also went towards the South Okanagan Food Bank and a new community-based garden.

Sheilagh Seaton, who directs the race with her husband Nic, anticipates this year’s event will raise even more funds.

She said some funds will again go to the food bank, while most of it will go towards a Canadian Humanitarian project to build a more urban school in Ethiopia.

“The cycle of poverty has continued for many years,” said Seaton. “Educating orphaned and vulnerable children can help break the cycle.”

Seaton said the event is designed for mountain bikers of beginner to expert abilities, and will be fun for the whole family, with individual categories and courses for all ages and abilities.

The racing will be held at Cartwright Mountain, located just off Prairie Valley Road (turn off just before the landfill site). The municipality has again provided use of the municipal yard for the parking and stage areas for the race.

Seaton said the racing gets going at 9 a.m. with the beginners and juniors hitting the course. The younger children will put the pedal to the metal on a 1 km flat loop from 10 to 11 a.m.

The main event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with each loop on the course a distance of 9.75 kilometres. Seaton said some riders can do the course as fast as 30 minutes.

Among those competing in the main event will be Belgian cycling legend Axel Merckx (who now resides in Kelowna) and Peachland national junior team rider Evan Guthrie, who works at the Bike Barn in Penticton.

The legendary “Voice of Ironman” Steve King, of Penticton, will be doing the race announcing.

Seaton said there are 200 signed up for the main event alone. Riders enter as teams since there are a limited number allowed on the course at any one time.

Riders can still sign up for the race at www.testofhumanity.com. The registration cut-off is tonight at midnight.

Seaton said there will be plenty of other attractions at the race site, including a craft tent, face-painting for kids and a concession.

“It’s really a fun day for the entire family, and we raise funds for some very important local and international causes,” said Seaton.

Canadian Humanitarian is a non-religious, non-profit organization that provides orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia with access to health care, education, vocational training and the basic necessities of life such as nutrition and shelter.

The South Okanagan Food Bank is a local organization that provides monthly food hampers to those people requiring assistance. At present there are 9,000 people in the South Okanagan that require support from the local food bank, Seaton said.

Anyone wishing to get involve as a volunteer or make a donation to the cause can email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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