Friday, August 21, 2009

Calgary cycling club raises money for U of C scholarship at the Jason Lapierre Memorial Cycling Weekend

CALGARY - For young, aspiring athletes, every bit of cash helps them reach their goals. And for those receiving the Jason Lapierre Memorial Scholarship, the money carries an even deeper meaning.

On Aug. 22 and 23, a Memorial Cycling Weekend in Calgary has been dedicated to Lapierre with proceeds donated to the U of C fund. The two days of racing include a provincial 40-km time trial, a criterium, and a Tour de France-style 150 km road race.

This event follows another held on Aug. 2, the inaugural Viterra Ironman 70.3 Calgary, which hosted athletes from over 20 countries in our city. This sold-out triathlon made available charity entry spots with proceeds going to the Jason Lapierre Memorial Scholarship.

On July 19th, 2006, Jason Lapierre, 34, was killed just east of Cochrane, Alta., after being struck by a car while training on his bike. His friends started a memorial scholarship in his name, and each year an award of up to $1,000 will be given to an athlete who shares one of Lapierre’s many passions: triathlon, alpine ski racing, coaching or distance running.

“Jason Lapierre was a great athlete, coach and a friend to many. Jay’s legacy has made a lasting impression in Calgary’s sporting community through the annual U of C scholarship in Jay’s name, the Jay Cup ski race at Nakiska, the Viterra Ironman 70.3 Calgary and the Jason Lapierre Memorial Cycling weekend,” says Kyle Marcotte, a close friend of Lapierre and an Ironman triathlete who helped start up the scholarship fund at the U of C.

Race director Trevor Williams says he has tried to model this race after how he believed Lapierre would have done it.

“I have made the race open to anyone willing to try out a race for the first time without a race license – this is not a common thing in cycling – and, at the same time, keep the high level of competition,” says Williams who is a U of C post doctorate and research engineer as well as a competitive cyclist, triathlete and friend of Lapierre.

“Jay was always such a great ambassador for any sport he competed in and, like me, believed getting youngsters and fresh blood into the sport continuously was very important, all while he himself completed at a high level.”

Julie Rabnett received the award for 2008-2009. She knows Lapierre from her alpine ski racing days and spoke with him often about triathlons, a sport she was interested in getting involved in.

The 24-year-old graduated from Kinesiology last year and is now taking organic chemistry and plans to apply to medical school.

“Every bit counts when I’m going to school,” says Rabnett. “It also makes it much more real to have a face behind the award – in this case, someone I know.”

Triathlete and Kinesiology grad Grant Burwash was the first U of C student to receive the award two years ago. He had met Jason through triathlons. Burwash says the award was an honour to receive because the funding is coming from an athletic community he is actively involved in.

“It helped me free up some money to attend school so I would have extra cash to put toward racing in the summer,” says Burwash, 23, who has spent time racing in Europe, Turkey, Mexico as well as in Canada and the U.S.

As they did in June for the “Race the Ring 30-km Time Trial,” Stoney Trail Constructors has once again provided use of a freshly paved section of the unopened Northeast Stoney Trail. Project Manager and cycling enthusiast Lorie Holte says, “Stoney Trail Constructors is very proud of the Northeast Stoney Trail, and we are pleased to be able to make this road available to the Speed Theory Race Team and the Alberta Bicycle Association for the Jason Lapierre Memorial Cycling Weekend.”

Spectator and participant parking is available, and parking officials will be onsite to direct and assist arriving vehicles.

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WHAT: Jason Lapierre Memorial Cycling Weekend

WHEN: Saturday Aug 22 and Sunday August 23 – Citizen and Provincial Time Trial on Saturday morning; Metis Trail Criterium on Saturday afternoon; Tour de France style road race on Sunday.

WHERE: Unique, Spectator-friendly Venue: newly paved highway located east of Deerfoot Trail NE on Stoney Trail NE, from Country Hills Boulevard NE to McKnight Trail NE. Spectator and participant parking is available, and parking officials will be onsite to direct and assist arriving vehicles.

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Trevor Williams
Race Director
Speed Theory Cycling
Cell: 403-831-8738

Julie Rabnett
2008/09 Jason Lapierre Memorial Scholarship recipient
Cell: 403-462-5606

Grant Burwash
2007/08 Jason Lapierre Memorial Scholarship recipient
Cell: 403-999-7028

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