Registration for a new cycling gravel event opened last week and has received a strong initial response.
The Cochrane Crusher by Rogelli Canada is being held on Aug. 21 and includes fondo, race, and e-bike components.
It's being organized and partially sponsored by Rogelli Canada with the support of 12 local sponsors and agencies.
Event organizer Robert Martens says it's designed for both competitive and recreational cyclists to enjoy.
"We made it as widely accessible as possible and that's why we have chosen to open it up for both competitive cyclists and people who want to ride recreationally for 2 to 4 hours and explore the backroads north of Cochrane," says Martens.
A cycling enthusiast, he says it's a gap he's been looking to fill for some time.
There are both fondo and recreational rides of 52k or 104k on the same course. Those in the 104k complete the loop twice.
It also features Alberta's first-ever separate e-bike gravel event.
The course is on rolling terrain, 94 per cent gravel with a total of 1,034m (3,392 ft) climbing per 52 km lap.
It starts and finishes at Glengary Bison, near Madden, who are sponsoring a celebration barbecue at the end.
There are over $ 3,000 in prizes and awards, generously sponsored by the Cochrane business community and cycling enthusiasts.
The most coveted prizes for the competitive racers are likely the one-of-a-kind custom King and Queen of the Mountain jerseys for the male and female with the best times for a 3.5 km climb that's part of the route with an 89m elevation change.
"The jersey is already in production, so I would say in six or seven weeks, it will be showcased at Bike Bros, and we might get even more excitement out there," says Martens.
Enthusiasm for the event, though, is already high. On the first day of registration, it was already 10 per cent full, with half of them coming from the Edmonton area.
Martens says they have 12 generous sponsors helping to make it possible. Among them is Garmin which is contributing to the podium and providing many valuable door prizes.
"They are a big supporter worldwide of these kinds of events, so we're very excited to get them on board."
Also assisting are 4iiii, Bighill Cycle, Kelso's Bikes, Coffee Traders, Half Hitch Brewery, Wildcat Coffee, Bike Cochrane, Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce, and Cochrane Tourism.
Martens hopes it will become an annual event.
More information and updates can be found here.