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MS Bike – West Kootenay Challenge takes new and exciting routes

Participant Tammy Zirk started her fundraising efforts last winter and has raised nearly $5,000 by selling her homemade fudge. — Submitted

The MS Bike – West Kootenay Challenge returns for its seventh annual event this August 18 and 19 to cyclists ready to take on the road for a good cause.

Veering from tradition, the annual event will not follow the 222 kilometre Kokanee Glacier loop as in years past. Instead, cyclists will start and finish each day of the ride in Nelson, taking the scenic route to Cresent Valley on the first day and heading to Procter for one of The Village Bakery's famous cinnamon buns on the second day.

"Participants can expect the same great challenge in an all new route," said Jillian Earl, event coordinator.

Three route options will be available on the first day to accommodate different riding abilities, and training rides on June 2, June 30, and July 28 are planned to help participants prepare.

"Cycling is what brings participants to the event, but the MS Bike has always been more than just a bike ride," said Earl. "There's a real community among the participants, and it's fun to see that community grow with new riders and those coming from other areas of the Kootenays, and the province," she said.

The ride is a fundraiser for the MS Society of Canada. Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. Since its inaugural event in 2012, the West Kootenay Challenge has raised $569,660, to support programs and services for people living with MS, advocacy work, and research to find the cause and cure.

Earl is optimistic the event will reach the $100,000 fundraising goal, which is already well on its way with $7,000 being raised to date.

Participant Tammy Zirk started her fundraising efforts last winter and has raised nearly $5,000 by selling her homemade fudge.

"I've always loved riding my bike, and what's better than doing something I love while raising funds and awareness for an amazing cause? Every year, I hold my 'Fantastic Fudge Fundraiser' to help raise money for MS Bike...I peddle my fudge so I can pedal my bike," said Zirk.

"The MS research and development that has been accomplished so far has helped so many – just imagine where it can go with continued funding," she said.

Those interested in getting involved as either a participant, donor, sponsor, or volunteer can go to www.msbike.cafor more information, or contact event coordinator, Jillian Earl at jillian.earl@mssociety.ca.