The fourth Great Canadian Cycle Relay (La Grande Traversée) is coming through Nelson June 14. Over 50 bicycles started in Montreal on May 18 and will arrive in Vancouver June 18. The riders are high school students from across Canada, each taking a three-day leg of about 450 kilometres. The annual relay is organized by BC ‘s francophone school board.
Carole Massé, principal of Nelson’s l’école des Sentiers-alpins, rode in the relay the last two years. She says the ride promotes physical fitness and citizenship as well as giving French-language teens an opportunity to share their culture. Helping to coach the riders are Olympic athletes including snowboarders Maëlle Ricker and Dominique Maltais.
Nelson’s Grade 8 team includes Aube Jolicoeur, Rohan Moola, Adyn Barbant, Elisa Clark and Maïka Houde. They will ride in the leg from Calgary to Nelson.
Their coach, Madeleine Arsenault, has had them training since mid-March, working up to 100 km rides each weekend.
Nelson RCMP will provide safety escorts and Gerick’s Cycles lent some high-end bikes for training. For the five Nelson students the ride marks the end of their journey at l’école des Sentiers-alpins. They will transfer to L.V. Rogers secondary school in September.
The riders are expected to cross the Big Orange Bridge about 5:45 p.m. on June 14 and tour around Baker St. to finally be greeted at the Sentiers-alpins annual school picnic at Lakeside Park.
For more information contact Carole Massé at 250-825-4020 or follow the ride’s progress at lagrandetraversee.ca/en