It has more competitors than the Olympics: 3,600 athletes from 40 countries are descending on Penticton for the first Multisport World Championships.
Six triathlon-style world racing titles are up for grabs.
“Typically they are held all over the world in different locations,” explained executive director Michael Brown. “This is the first time they put them all in one location, hoping athletes would have the opportunity to only spend money on travel once but be able to do multiple world championships in one venue.”
The influx of up to 10,000 visitors is a boost for local tourism, which, according to travel agents, has had a tough year.
“Our season started with the high water levels in the lake, then of course fires in the province caused some angst for folks wanting to commit coming here,” said Travel Penticton co-chair Barb Haynes.
“Certainly we have had smoke in the valley, but as you can see it’s clear and beautiful, so to have this as this great longer-term ten-day event is just a great opportunity.”
But an event of this magnitude doesn’t come without its critics.
Some local residents are taking to social media to express frustration about close run-ins with cyclists.
On Thursday, a cyclist was struck by a vehicle on south Main. The victim suffered minor injuries.
Event organizers are asking residents to pack their patience and brace for some minor issues, including temporary road closures.
“We apologize if we impact your community or if it makes it a little longer to get out of your house, but… we think we are creating something magical here,” Brown said.
“Understand that the roads will be busy for the next few days, but instead of feeling frustrated, let’s welcome them.”