Mountain bike enthusiasts from across North America are descending on Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. From August 17 to 19, the community is hosting Crank The Shield. To learn more about the multi-day cycling adventure, including route maps and start times, go to www.cranktheshield.com.
Crank The Shield was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. The event is drawing nearly 200 participants from across the continent, including nine riders from Mexico. With a majority of cyclists coming from outside of the region, the race is expected to inject around $100,000 of direct visitor spending into the local economy.
“The economic impact of this event is significant,” said Alana Kenopic, Manager of Sport Tourism & Special Events for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “While attracting visitors, we’re also looking to build exposure for the area’s exceptional cycling opportunities. The end goal is to grow our community’s reputation as a prime destination for a unique segment of tourists.”
Crank The Shield 2018 features a number of stages. On Day 1, participants will take the Agawa Canyon Tour Train to the starting point at Batchewana Station and then embark on a 90-kilometre cycling journey that includes the summit on Batchewana Mountain. The second day has a run of 80 kilometres and features a daunting climb to the top of King Mountain. Day 3 features a 70-kilometre ride ending with an epic single track run into Kinsmen Park in Sault Ste. Marie.
Established in 2008, Crank The Shield is facilitated by Superfly Racing and Chico Racing. The event is held in or near the Canadian Shield. Surrounded by pristine wilderness, incredible views and the Great Lakes, organizers saw Sault Ste. Marie as a prime host location.
“The trails and landscape around the Sault provide the perfect terrain for our race,” said Sean Ruppel, President of Superfly Racing. “I thank the land owners, volunteers, sponsors and organizers for making this year’s event possible. We hope to grow the race in years to come and make Sault Ste. Marie an annual host location for Crank The Shield.”