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Final CANDISC event in August

Cyclist participate in CANDISC VIstory Lap
PHOTOS COURTESY GARRISON CVB
Cyclists can participate in the CANDISC “Victory Lap” Aug. 5-12, when the final event will be held.

When the bicycles outnumber the cars on the roads, there is only one reason: it’s CANDISC time! Celebrating its 25th and final year, the Silver Anniversary Grand Finale CANDISC Victory Lap will take place Aug. 5-12. It has been a good ride for Garrison area tourism organizers and the approximately 10,000 riders who have been introduced to North Dakota’s beauty and hospitality over the years.

CANDISC promotes cycling, camping and camaraderie during a weeklong event that regularly attracts participants from 25 to 30 states and a few Canadian provinces, according to McKaila Matteson, director of CANDISC and the Garrison Convention and Visitors Bureau. This year’s final Victory Lap covers a circuitous route of about 425 miles that begins and ends in Garrison, as it always has. The route changes annually, with the Fort Totten Historic Site as the featured highlight this year. Overnight stops tentatively include Drake, Minnewaukan, Fessenden, Wing and Turtle Lake.

CANDISC has been a rewarding experience many riders have said was on their bucket list. Matteson encourages anyone with that thought to join the group for CANDISC's finale this year. The ride is not a competition; it’s a go-at-your-own-pace vacation. Days begin with breakfast in a host community before riders get on their bikes and follow a well-marked route to the next destination. Rest stops every 15 to 20 miles have portable toilets and volunteers selling snacks and drinks. Other services along the way include a wagon that gives sagging riders a lift and emergency medical support in case of injuries. By day’s end, all riders reach the next host community, where they can look forward to a hot meal, entertainment, shower and bathroom facilities. Lodging options include tents, campers and motels where available.

“Anyone can do this if they are interested,” Matteson asserted. “We have had riders as young as 6 and up to 80 plus. We get a lot of die-hard, experienced riders who do the entire ride. But we also get a lot of riders that are doing it just to make a good memory. They ride a few days or as much of each day as they can. Everyone gets to know each other and a lot of friendships are made.”

CANDISC got its start when Dick Messerly, Fort Stevenson State Park manager at the time, initiated the event to increase tourism interest in the Lake Sakakawea area. More than 50 percent of riders have come from out of state and tourism benefits have extended well beyond the Garrison region.

But this is the last year to acquire a CANDISC T-shirt and make a lifelong memory. “We want to end on a high note with a big bang,” Matteson commented. “We have decided a quarter century is a good ending point.”

CANDISC is limited to 300 riders and pre-registration is required. ν

Candi Helseth is a freelance writer from Minot

Contact: For more information or to register, call Garrison CVB toll free at 800-799-4242 or go online to www.candisc