Crank the Shield is “Eastern North America’s most challenging and popular mountain bike stage race,” according to their website, and it’s happening right here in Haliburton County. The event’s webpage lists the event as one that people from all across North America travel to be a part of.

It’s a three-day mountain biking stage race that happens every two years. According to the event site, Crank the Shield is one of the best stage races in the world. There are twelve categories in total for participants to enter, and three stages to the race.

The first is from Haliburton Forest to White Pine, the second is a loop that begins and ends at Camp White Pine, and the third is from Sir Sam’s to Haliburton Forest. Each day wraps up with dinner and awards for the riders.

Chief Event Director, Sean Ruppel says landowners and the township are always cooperative in making the event happen, but they’ve seen a decline in participants over the years. The event started in 2008 and they had 280 riders. This year is the fifth year and Ruppel says they only have 190. He says it’s a great event and a good chance for riders to race alongside some of the world’s top mountain bikers. Ruppel says he can’t thank land owners and the township enough for supporting the event as it’s been hard to gain respect for the event.

Ruppel says spectators are always welcome, and can find race location and information on their website. The riders will be going through Head Lake Park on Saturday morning, around 11 a.m.