For having the name it does, the Greasy Chains Cycling Club runs much more smoother. In its 17th year of existence — the club officially formed in 2004 — the dedicated and committed members of Dawson Creek’s road bike club are just as apt to participate in a 20 km time trial or do a 900m climb as they were 10 or 15 years ago.
“Iit’s more of a training group really. We have raced in the past but not in a while and it’s not taken that seriously. We’re happy to still be petering along and that there’s enough interest from the membership to be going after all this time,” said Carsten Erbe, a member of the original group which formed the club and who currently does most of the admin work for the Chains.
While the club would love to get younger and have a youth program, as well get back into racing regularly, its main reason of existence is to promote the fantastic cycling that exists in and around Dawson Creek.
“I don’t think most people realize how great the cycling is, I’ve lived and rode in lots of hot spots, but cyclists want quiet roads with lots of variation and we have that in spades here in the Peace,” Erbe said.
“For Dawson Creek in particular, there is something in every direction — hills, flats, rollers, it’s heaven for road cycling, and we love beating the drum of how fun it is.”
Jamie Maxwell, the Greasy Chains’ longstanding president, echoed that thought.
“This is glorious cycling country, there are really nice flats and a lot of variety here. Last week we did two hills, over 500m to climb, and now we’re doing the triple crown,” Maxwell said.
Yes, a casual, week-night Greasy Chains ride can see members climb 500 m. Recently, on July 22, they planned to hold their second annual Triple Crown ride before the heavy winds kept most riders indoors. The ride sees riders climb three hills — Bear Mountain, Paradise Valley, Patterson Road — on a Thursday night, 900 metres of climbing overall.
“We’ve scared people off in the past, but we’re primarily just a bunch of old guys and have thrown in challenges along the way to keep it interesting,” Erbe said. “The Triple Crown is intimidating, but we train for it, and it brings a sense of bravado.”
“The interesting thing about these hills,” Maxwell said, “is if they weren’t in our program you would avoid them, but they are really good workouts, and you get a feeling of satisfaction knowing what you accomplished.”
Erbe said he knows the high climbs aren’t for everyone, and a sub-group for newer riders was formed this year, bringing cyclists out on flatter, shorter rides.
“We wanted to have something for a junior cyclists ability. We know there can be a barrier for anyone trying to get engaged with a newer sport, and we’re doing what we can to lessen that,” he said.
For now, and for the rest of the summer, the Greasy Chains will keep on riding along, no matter how many people show up, and what age they may be.
“We have modest, but healthy, numbers, and we enjoy doing it. We live to train, and live to ride,” Erbe said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com