The race route takes riders over the summit of Gray Creek Pass from Kootenay Laketo Kimberley. Bohdan Doval file.

The race route takes riders over the summit of Gray Creek Pass from Kootenay Laketo Kimberley. Bohdan Doval file.

Bike race from Merritt to Fernie will be coming over Gray Creek Pass on June 28

Tom Lymbery of the Gray Creek Store says that a 1000 kilometre race from Merritt to Fernie, through Kimberley, is a go.

The BC Epic follows a 1000km (1040 to be exact) route with 11,000 meters in elevation. It traverses South Central BC starting in Merrit and ending in Fernie (or vice versa if you choose) mostly along the Trans Canada Trail. The route is about 80 per cent off road on mostly old decommissioned rail grades (Kettle Valley Railroad from Brookmere to Midway, Columbia Western from Midway to Castlegar and Great Northern from Salmo to Nelson), with a few sections of challenging singletrack and the rest mostly rough gravel forest service road and about 100km paved.

The race is described as an unofficial, completely self-supported backpacking ride/race.

“Dr, Lennard Pretorius of Kamloops confirms that the extremely tough BC EPIC 1000 cycle race following the Trans Canada Trail has close to 80 entrants for 2021, after being cancelled by COVID-19 in 2020,” Lymbery said.

Front runners will leave Merritt on Saturday June 26, tackle the Gray Creek Pass and Kimberley June 28, heading to the finish line in Fernie, completing over 1000 kilometres.

Once again it will be possible to follow individual contestants on line.

“Also most important news is that the name has officially returned to Trans Canada Trail after everyone protested the abortive attempt to change the name to The Great Trail, which had no country designation,” he said.

He also reports that the snow just west of the summit of the Gray Creek Pass is expected to be driveable by June 25th.

“By looking for clear areas two motorcycles made it through on June 13th,” he said.