Saskatchewan rides with HPL Cycling
HPL Cycling is a Saskatchewan-based performance and masters development team. At its core, HPL Cycling believes that: when more Saskatchewan women and men participate in sport and competitive cycling, everybody wins. To that end, HPL Cycling has created and supported outdoor and indoor cycling events that continue to expand the boundaries of what one can do with two wheels, or one wheel, depending on the trainer used.
In 2019 HPL Cycling members competed in, medaled in, and secured the road racing title at Sask Cycling Provincials. One member participated in the 2019 Canadian Masters ITT Championships. Many members in the team helped clean and mark the route of the 2019 Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ride Don’t Hide event in Regina. HPL Cycling members also fund raised and participated in this event. Many also participated in fondos, gravel grinders and cyclocross races across the province, the country and in the USA.
Cyclists are always chill in a Saskatchewan winter.
As the summer waned, a number of members further explored and carved out existing and new and innovative gravel routes in Saskatchewan Provincial Parks. Several members event completed their very first bikepacking adventures.
As winter approached, HPL Cycling switched focus to create a more inclusive, participative cycling environment across the province. Working closely with bicycle shops in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, HPL Cycling launched the first ever indoor eSports time trial series. The very successful HPL Winter Time Trial Series, based on the Zwift online platform encouraged men, women and juniors from across the province to go to their local bike shops and compete locally and provincially in the five-race series. The series was reported on and featured locally by CBC, by paNOW, Switching Gears Bike Radio, and by Canadian Cycling Magazine.
In February of 2020, HPL Cycling members looked abroad to complete bucket list adventures. One member participated in the TransCape Africa Mountain Bike Experience and another member put down his bike, briefly, to hike the Grand Canyon, rim to rim to rim. It should be noted that, unfortunately, there are no bikes allowed in the Grand Canyon. During the summer months an HPL Cycling team member completed a ‘Half Everesting’ on gravel using a mountain bike, and another completed Saskatchewan’s fastest ‘Everesting’ in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park.
Along Came COVID
When the COVID-19 Virus arrived in Saskatchewan, it put a different kind of chill on all group activities, including cycling. HPL Cycling, with several years of experience in online riding over several platforms worked with a number of groups including the Saskatchewan Cycling Association, the Regina Cycling Club, Rock n’ Road Cycling Club, and Cycling Canada to rapidly build up a number of recurring racing and training opportunities for Saskatchewan cyclists and others from across the country and around the world.
Their riding opportunities, all on the Zwift app, included the online version of Regina Cycling Club’s TNR (Tuesday Night Race), Cycling Canada’s Zwift group rides, Women’s Only group ride, races and Monday Night Tune-up Rides. HPL Cycling also organized and hosted two Sask Provincial+ Zwift Gran Fondos in December, 2020 and January 2021. The team continues to host provincial group rides every Sunday on Zwift and recently introduced regular Wednesday evening women’s only Zwift ride led by HPL Cycling member, Amy Richter. These Zwift-based rides are provincial in scope, but those living across Canada, in the US and around the world also participate.
Partnership with South Africa’s TransCape MTB Journey
Most recently, HPL Cycling teamed up with South Africa’s TransCape MTB Journey to host the Virtual TransCape Mountain Bike Series. The actual race could not be held because of COVID-19 health and safety restriction. The virtual race was held over four Saturdays in February on the Zwift app. Participants included racers from around the world, sport bikers and local competitors. The events were live streamed on Facebook, and included professional commentary by South African Gerald de Kock and HPL Cycling’s Regan Arendse.
Participation is free to competitors!
Prizes were awarded for most of these competitions and events. It must be noted that as HPL Cycling’s goal is to get Saskatchewan cyclists riding, every single virtual race and event hosted and organized by HPL Cycling was free of charge to participants.
Looking ahead to outdoor cycling season, significant uncertainty about group riding remains. HPL Cycling has its eyes on continuing to create cycling opportunities for Saskatchewan cyclists. If outdoor racing does not return, plans are in the works to continue virtual riding and racing opportunities, safe outdoor gravel and bikepacking adventures and the ongoing support of Saskatchewan-based cycling clubs and groups that support cycling.