Hun­dreds of cy­clists take to the streets for KW Clas­sic

Held in Hawkesville for the fifth time, event saw var­i­ous com­peti­tors race along area roads on Sun­day

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - VERON­ICA REINER

THE HUN­DREDS OF CY­CLISTS on the road around Hawkesville Sun­day weren’t just out to win a race, they were rais­ing money for the vil­lage com­mu­nity cen­tre.

It’s the fifth time the KW Clas­sic Road Race has launched from Hawkesville, but it’s still not with­out its chal­lenges, as town­ship of­fi­cials haven’t al­ways em­braced cy­cling events, cit­ing dis­rup­tions to traf­fic and other con­cerns. Last month, for in­stance, coun­cil de­clined race or­ga­nizer Cy­cle Water­loo’s re­quest to waive or re­duce the $500 fee for the special event per­mit needed to host the race.

“Our town­ship roads do cost a lot of money to main­tain,” said Mayor Joe Nowak in a coun­cil meet­ing on May 15. “And I think we have to rec­og­nize that. It’s im­por­tant for us to keep those roads in good shape, and there’s a cost in­volved in that.”

De­spite this set­back, Cy­cle Water­loo pro­ceeded with the event as they did the pre­vi­ous year. Among the par­tic­i­pants was Hawkesville’s Scott Brubacher, a mem­ber of the club who has been racing pro­fes­sion­ally for two years.

“What I dis­like is how the mayor and coun­cil of Welles­ley is try­ing to shut us down,” he said.

“They’re charg­ing a lot of

money for the event. So for the start-up cost and also charg­ing money for each racer that’s at­tend­ing. It seems a lit­tle bit ridicu­lous. We’re not putting any wear and tear on the roads com­pared to traf­fic. And our event raises money for the com­mu­nity of Hawkesville. I think last year we raised $3,000.”

Ath­letes of all shapes and sizes raced in 11 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories – elite, master and ju­nior – in a cir­cuit course to de­ter­mine who was the fastest cy­clist. The num­ber of laps and over­all length of the course var­ied de­pend­ing on the level.

Sun­day’s race marked the 32nd time it’s been held in the re­gion and the fifth in Hawkesville.

“It’s a very con­trolled course,” said Mal­colm Steven, co-founder of Cy­cle Water­loo. “It’s very ex­cit­ing to watch, a lot of spec­ta­tors in­ter­ested in com­ing out are from Kitch­ener-Water­loo. The Hawkesville com­mu­nity has been won­der­ful to work with, we know they’re very sup­port­ive and they gen­er­ally come to watch the races. We have traf­fic con­trol, we have po­lice and vol­un­teers, and all those things in place to make it very man­age­able. Peo­ple need to get out of their homes, we help them do all that.”

All par­tic­i­pants must ob­tain a li­cense with the On­tario Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion be­fore com­pet­ing. Any­one who does not have a li­cense needs to go through a regis­tra­tion process.

“When you start racing, you have to start in the bot­tom tier which is E4,” explained Brubacher. As you do well in races, you gain points and then you can up­grade into the next cat­e­gory, so this year I’m racing in E3.”

Rac­ers at­tend this event from all across On­tario, in- clud­ing from Lon­don, Ot­tawa and Toronto, ac­cord­ing to Steven. There were ap­prox­i­mately 250-400 cy­clists who par­tic­i­pated. There were a va­ri­ety of re­fresh­ments pro­vided as well as med­i­cal per­son­nel and po­lice on the site.

“Don’t be scared to try cy­cling and to join a club. Be­cause there are cy­cling events and rides that you can join for all lev­els of abil­ity. So you don’t have to think, ‘oh my gosh, I can’t do this be­cause I’ve never rid­den on a bike be­fore or I’m not very skilled.’ We have or­ga­nized club rides with the Water­loo Cy­cling Club. My word for the pub­lic would be to get out and try it be­cause it’s an awe­some way to get off the couch and make new friends, and see na­ture first­hand.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing the cy­cling club can visit www.wa­ter­loocy­cling. com. Re­sults from the race can be found at www.on­tar­i­o­cy­cling.org/re­sults.

[VERON­ICA REINER / THE OB­SERVER]

Hawkesville was home to the KW Clas­sic on Sun­day.

Cy­clists of all cal­i­bres in 11 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories – elite, master and ju­nior – raced along a cir­cuit course start­ing in Hawkesville.

[VERON­ICA REINDER / THE OB­SERVER]

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