The deadline to sign up for the biathlon is July 18 at noon.

Vancouver Island Biathlon Club competition deadline is approaching

Upcoming event on July 21 promises an action-packed day for beginners and veterans alike

The Vancouver Island Biathlon Club (VIBC) is holding a mountain bike biathlon race on July 21 for beginners and veterans alike. No experience? No problem!

The club’s staff will offer participants essential instruction and safety tips so they can experience a unique and challenging Olympic sport. Just bring a mountain bike (and helmet) and VIBC will supply the rifle and ammunition.

What is biathlon? Long-time member, Christoph Dettling explains: “Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship. In most races, athletes fire at five targets after skiing a loop on a very hilly course. The elevated heart rate creates a real challenge in hitting targets 50 metres away.

These targets are 4.5-cm for prone position shooting and 11.5-cm for the standing shoot. In most races, athletes must ski a penalty loop for every shot missed.”

Don’t competitors need snow for biathlon? “Not necessarily,” says Dettling. For the upcoming VIBC race, participants will bike a short, hilly loop to elevate their heart rate and simulate the challenge of the sport. There will be four shooting bouts of five shots, with a loop in between each shooting bout. As in most biathlon races, there will be a penalty loop for each shot missed.

Isn’t this too challenging for beginners?

Dettling laughs.

“The really interesting thing about this sport is that while it can be challenging, it is also so much fun and suitable to a surprising range of people.

At the end of the day it’s about staying fit and having fun in a safe environment.”

The deadline for entry is noon on July 18, and the race preparations commence at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 21 at the biathlon range at Mt. Washington.

If you are at least 9 years of age or older, send your questions to secretaryvibc@gmail.com. If you want to learn more about the Vancouver Island Biathlon Club or get involved, visit the website at www.vibiathlon.ca, or call Christoph at 250-884-3473.