Apex Mountain Resort cracked the Canadian Cycling Magazine’s top 10 list for climbs in Canada, listed at No. 2.
In it’s report, it said “climb worthy of the Tour de France.”
The road to Apex Mountain, which is more than 10-kilometres has an altitude gain of 831 metres and an average gradient of 8.1 per cent.
“As you get closer to the summit, it levels off a little bit. But the whole thing is quite steep, through switchbacks, trees and the finish at a ski resort,” professional rider Rob Britton, who races for Rally Cycling, told the magazine. “It could easily be in the Tour.”
Apex came in behind Mount Revelstoke, which is 26-km in length and has a 5.6 per cent average gradient.
Sam Cohen, publisher of Canadian Cycling Magazine, said Apex Mountain made its list because they wanted geographical diversity as their magazine is read across Canada.
“It’s one of the consistently steeper climbs in Canada,” he said. “I think also the advantage of it being a road that, the only reason to go up there is to go to the ski resort or there is a few houses up there. It makes it for a nice quiet climb. It’s quite a beautiful climb for people to do.”
Cohen said Apex winds up being one of the more iconic climbs in the country.
Blais, who lives in Richmond and is moving back to Penticton, said cycling to Apex Mountain is much harder than Mount Seymour, Cypress Mountain or Mount Baker in Washington State.
“The hard part about Apex is that it is quite steep. It’s long and steep,” said Blais.
Blais noted that Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has two criteria to categorize climbs. The smaller the category, the more difficult the climb is. The hardest category of all is what is called hors categorie in French, or beyond classification, which Apex is considered.
Blais said the distance is long for a climb with a grade over 10 per cent. Some sections surpass 20 per cent.
The hill climb is a separate race, but part of the schedule for the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan event this weekend. The climb is schedule for Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. Blais said the average person is not riding the climb.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic race. I think it’s such a great idea that they have added it,” she said. “I think from an experience stand point, it’s going to bring so much more attention to the Okanagan as a cycling destination. I think it’s a feather in our cap.”