There's only room for about 15 more participants in the inaugural Cochrane Crusher gravel cycling event, and more volunteers are sought to help make it a huge success.

The Cochrane Crusher is being held next Sunday, Aug. 21. It will see competitive and recreational (Fondo) cyclists enjoy both a 52k and 104k race.

A few days ago, event organizer Robert Martens, of Rogelli Canada and president of Bike Cochrane, says over 90 people have signed up for the race that explores gravel roads north of town. He says entries have continued to trickle in as the entry deadline draws close. The event maxes out at 125.

They've issued a call for more volunteers to step forward. Most of the positions revolve around safely directing cyclists along the route.

"These roads have very low traffic," says Martens. "I've ridden that course many times, and cyclists most likely won't encounter more than five to 10 cars during the entire race, which is very low. Nevertheless, we want to make sure the people stay safe. That's the important thing."

For their help, volunteers will enjoy a free post-race barbecue and a choice of a $25 gift certificate, $25 cash, or donating the $25 to the Big Hill Haven women's emergency shelter. So far, most have donated the funds to the shelter, says Martens.

All volunteers will also be included in a draw to win one of two sports watches, donated by Garmin, each valued at over $200.

Martens says the number of prizes and giveaways offered has risen to $5,000 for the cyclists.

"It's coming from every direction," he says. "There's very strong support from the local business community."

The most coveted prizes for the competitive racers are likely the one-of-a-kind custom King and Queen of the Mountain jerseys for the male and female cyclists with the best times for a 3.5 km climb that's part of the route. It has an elevation change of 90m.

"There's only a couple of jerseys made for this event," he says. "They're truly unique."

The jerseys are currently on display at Bike Bros, 128 River Ave., who stepped forward to sponsor the jerseys.

Bike Bros co-owner Andrea Marchand says they are active with Bike Cochrane and were eager to lend their support to promote gravel cycling here.

"Some locals know for sure, but this event certainly will gain exposure outside of Cochrane for people to come here for weekends to do some gravel exploring and see what this area has to offer. There are endless gravel roads here to explore with amazing views and vistas and it would be great t have them come to enjoy it."

The hope is the Cochrane Crusher is well received and become an annual event. Martens is pleased with the initial response to the race and believes it could continue to grow over the years.

Gravel biking is considered the fastest-growing sector of the cycling world right now.

The volunteer registration form can be found here.

More information on the race, including the registration form, prizes, and route, can be found here.