Struggle and sacrifice on The Hard Road

Giro di Burnaby is less than two weeks away and to get everyone in the mood for some high-speed criterium racing, organizers are inviting people to a film screening of The Hard Road.

The American film is a decade old this year but Rainy Kent, one of the organizers of the Giro, said it's still as relevant as it was ten years ago.

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"The principles of cycle racing remain the same," she said. "It's a really big deal for the community to come and just familiarize themselves with what criterium racing is all about."

The film follows a rookie professional cycling team through its first season, documenting their struggle to succeed and the sacrifices the sport requires of its athletes.

While the film is an American production, it does a have a connection to the annual Burnaby racing event, Kent said.

"One of the young fellows on the team in this movie is Hilton Clarke who actually won the Giro in 2006 . and he also came back and raced again last year," she said.

Organizers screened the film last year but turnout was less than desirable.

This year, Kent said they're hoping to get the word out to the community, especially those interested in learning more about the sport.

"You actually learn what's going on in the street in front in of you. I think that so many people think that all these guys - women and guys - are individuals that are racing for themselves and in fact, it's a very strategic event that is very team-focused and so you'll be sitting there watching and go "well, how did that guy get in front? He was way far back the last time and it's the teams working together," she explained.

The screening of The Hard Road starts at 6 p.m. on July 4 at 105-4191 Hastings St. at the corner of Hastings Street and Carleton Avenue, and the screening is limited to 50 people so reservations are required.

"We're going to do (the screening) in the G&F lobby," she said. "Waves is going to provide iced tea and Hippie Foods is providing chips."

This year, Kent is also excited to announce that Giro organizers have partnered with the Aboriginal Youth Cycling program run out of the Burnaby Velodrome.

Youth from the program will be collecting donations for the crowd primes (pronounced preems) during the races.

Ten per cent of the money collected in the crowd primes will go towards the aboriginal youth program.

"Everybody who wants to contributes $5 or $10 into a can," she said.

The primes are prize pots awarded to teams during mini races within the actual Giro race, which Kent said are very exciting because the cyclists are racing for extra prize money.

For more information on the Giro and to register for the screening of The Hard Road, visit girodiburnaby. com.

The Giro di Burnaby races are on July 11 with the women's races starting at 6 p.m. and the men's at 7: 15 p.m.

Organizers are encouraging spectators to ride their bikes to the event and are offering a bike valet service by donation in the empty lot behind Vancity at 4302 Hastings St.

The valet service is sponsored and run by Dandy Horse Cycles and the money collected will go towards Dandy Horses' prime - a sprint race with a cash prize.

Organizers have also put together a handful of contests for spectators of the races, including two new social media contests for kids and adults.

Photo contest

Capture and post your best race day photos - you in the crowd, the riders, the atmosphere - to Twitter or Instagram and include @GirodiBurnaby, @PALLADIOyvr and the hash-tag #GiroPhotoContest to be entered into the contest.

There's no limit on the number of times people can enter and two winners will be chosen after the races. The prizes are one men's watch and one women's watch, both valued at $3,500 and courtesy of Palladio Jewellers.

Kids' contest

Kids! Do you want to win an authentic Giro di Burnaby cycling jersey, just like the pros, signed by the pros?

Have your mom or dad take a photo of you riding or standing with your bike, wearing your best Italian colours - green, white and red - and send it to the Giro organizers on Facebook at diburnaby.

The winner gets a Giro di Burnaby cycling jersey signed by the men's and women's race winners.

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