The inaugural Tour of Alberta currently underway is Canada's first major cycling race to be held on the international stage and, locally in Nanaimo, the hope is the sport will continue its upward surge.
Racers from the world over, including Victoria-native Ryder Hesjedal, have descended upon Alberta for a world-class cycling event that takes cyclists from Edmonton to Calgary, Sept. 3-8. Each stage of the event is set to be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet, bringing new attention to the sport not seen before in Canada.
Mid-Island Velo Association president Peter McCaffery has watched as the organization's reach has continued to expand in recent years.
MIVA now boasts 111 members, nearly double the amount of registrations it received in its first year of operation in 2010.
"I've been running events here for seven years - the last three through MIVA - and I've noticed the growth," he said. "At last we're starting to get kids involved in road racing, a small nucleus is getting involved that has no where to go but up."
MIVA runs regular time trial runs that cater to cyclists of all backgrounds.
The organization has been active in a campaign to convince the region's citizens and politicians that a velodrome would be a useful asset, given the growing popularity of cycling in the Nanaimo area.
With new attention being shone on the sport in the form of the Tour of Alberta, the hope is to ride a wave of local interest to build on previous successes.
McCaffery also sees a chance to promote a love for the sport among the region's youth.
"I'm confident the way to get kids involved is on the track with a velodrome," he said. "The bmx guys will come and ride on the velodrome, some of the mountainbikers will also, and the kids get a rush.
"They can be successful without doing months and months and months of training and the parents can go watch," he said.
MIVA will begin a third year of its popular cyclocross clinics on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in Beban Park. The dates run Sept. 11 to Oct. 2 and members can join free.
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