Lots of Kelowna talent at Penticton mountain bike race

Test for Humanity fundraiser a big hit as money raised for third world countries.

Axel Merckx (front) of Kelowna is chased by Peachland's Evan Guthrie at the start of the Test for Humanity mountain bike race in Summerland Sunday. Merckx and partner Todd Melnyk of Kelowna were third overall in the team competion and second in their division. Guthrie won the solo portion of the race. Proceeds from the event go to Canadian Humanitarian for its work in Ethiopia.

Axel Merckx (front) of Kelowna is chased by Peachland's Evan Guthrie at the start of the Test for Humanity mountain bike race in Summerland Sunday. Merckx and partner Todd Melnyk of Kelowna were third overall in the team competion and second in their division. Guthrie won the solo portion of the race. Proceeds from the event go to Canadian Humanitarian for its work in Ethiopia.

From watching films, to scaling rocks, and riding bikes, Adventure Addictions Festival in Penticton had just about everything, including an exciting mountain bike race that featured many cyclists from around the Okanagan Valley.

Peachland cyclist Evan Guthrie claimed top spot in the mountain bike race, just edging out Squamish rider Kelly Servinski.

Test of Humanity organizer Shei Seaton said the main event was exciting because they had exciting finishes.

“It was very close between Evan Guthrie (Peachland) and Kelly Servinski (Squamish), who placed second,” she said. “They were neck-and-neck for most of the race. Evan just pulled ahead at the end. The Bike Barn team, they were neck-and-neck with Evan and they were a team and Evan was managing to hold his own the whole way around. They finished side-by-side.”

Test of Humanity, a cycling fundraiser attracted 260 participants. So far $25,000 has been raised for third world countries. Donations will be collected until the end of next week.

“It was a wonderful event,” said Seaton. “I think it’s such a great family event. We sold out in two of our events.”

She said response was very positive. She also monitored Twitter and Facebook.

“Some people just saying how much they enjoyed the day,” said Seaton. “I think a lot of people just say it’s just such a fun day. The kids event is always a huge success. Some of them are amazing doing six or seven laps on the one-kilometer course with their parents following behind.”

Bridget Schmidt was among the Test of Humanity participants and said she had a blast. “The one hour test ride that I was on was just a sun ride to get out there and enjoy, be with people that enjoy doing the same thing along with you,” she said. “I wouldn’t call the test a true race. It’s a really family oriented type day. Those that are into like really racing die-hards, they are fun to watch. It’s in such a great environment.”

Seaton said they couldn’t have done the event without the Bike Barn, who are phenomenal supporters.

Andrew Drouin of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association said the weekend was fantastic. He said the combination of events to create the festival was excellent.

Seaton also said the main event was exciting because they had exciting finishes.

“It was very close between Evan Guthrie (Peachland) and Kelly Servinski (Squamish), who placed second,” she said. “They were neck-and-neck for most of the race. Evan just pulled ahead at the end. The Bike Barn team, they were neck-and-neck with Evan and they were a team and Evan was managing to hold his own the whole way around. They finished side-by-side.”

Hill said organizers will meet in October and begin planning for next year, and the plan is to add paddling.

“We want to give everything that Penticton has to offer,” said Hill, adding that the name was submitted in a campaign.

Lyndie Hill, of Hoodoo Adventures and helped organize the weekend, said overall it was a good event. The rock climbing competition at Skaha Bluffs, which had 50 participants last year, saw an increase by 10. Nearly 100 flocked Skaha Lake Park for movies. Jen Olsyn, one of six full mountain guides in Canada, shared her stories with an audience.

Rock climbers enjoyed the weekend so much they talked about training all year to be ready for the next festival. The same point system was kept and will continue to be used as participants want to see how they have done. Along with the competitions, there were three clinics, including an advanced section, which was full.

Kelowna Capital News