King of the Mountain-Taking on Cochrane's BigHill

Posted by martin.parnell |
King of the Mountain-Taking on Cochrane's BigHill


The biggest sporting event that no-one seems to know about is coming to Cochrane on Friday September 2nd. The Tour of Alberta is a bike race along the lines of the Tour de France, in this case the riders will be completing 5 stages instead of 21. 

The first stage, on September 1st, is being held in Lethbridge Then its stage 2, Kananaskis to Olds. This is how the Tour of Alberta website describe this section: Departing in an area known as “Alberta’s Mountain Playground” with over 50 interconnected provincial parks and recreation areas, the peloton will begin Stage 2 at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis before embarking on their 182 kilometre quest. This stage includes the biggest climb of the 2016 Tour, “Big Hill” in Cochrane, before the peloton encounters predominately rolling and flat terrain through Mountain View County, nestled against the picturesque foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Upon making their way to one of Alberta’s esteemed college-towns, Olds, the race will feature three exciting finishing circuits in what is expected to be a thrilling mass sprint finish. On September 3rd Stage 3 is from Drayton valley to Rocky Mountain House and Stages 4 and 5 are in Edmonton. 

There are 13 teams competing, with a total of over 100 participants. Riders include defending champion Bauke Mollema and Canadian Superstar Ryder Hesjedal both from USA Team Trek-Segafredo. Other teams include USA based Cannondale, UnitedHealthCare, Rally and Jelly Belly; Dubai based Skydive; Ukraine based Amore / Vita-Selle and Canadian based Silber, H & R Block and Team Canada. 

How big is this event I hear you ask? To put this in context, the Grey Cup draws a viewership of 5m and the Stanley Cup 14m. The Tour of Alberta is watched by 47m people around the world and between 1.30pm and 2.30pm next Friday those eyes will be on Big Hill in Cochrane where the “King of the Mountain” section will be contested.

Now we know there’s going to be traffic issues on Friday afternoon with rolling road closures. The riders will be flying along the 1A crossing Hw 22 then up Big Hill before hitting junction 766 and heading north. So instead of getting frustrated why not take the afternoon off, leave the car at home and head up to Big Hill. 

So let’s make this a “Big Hill Party”. Students are out of school early that day so kids why not head up to the “King of the Mountain” section. I’m going to be on the hill at 1.30pm wearing my Canada Moose bike shirt and cowboy hat and, clanging my cow bell. Let’s give these athletes a hug cheer as the flash by and show the World what a real “Cochrane Welcome” looks like.


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