This weekend more than 400 cyclists from around the globe are descending on Vancouver to prepare for a challenging seven-day mountain bike race set to start on Sunday.

B.C. Bike Race kicks off its third year with a demanding first stage that traverses 30 kilometres of the world-renowned North Shore mountain bike trails. In the global cycling realm, North Vancouver trails are considered a mecca for mountain bikers.

“The North Shore is like Disneyland — it’s something every kid must do,” said race spokesperson and competitor Andreas Hestler. “And to share it with 400 people is almost overwhelming.”

Each day riders experience a new West Coast community where they race from 30 to 70 kilometres on local trails, taking two-eight hours to complete. Off the bike, participants refuel with huge volumes of food and recharge overnight in tented base camps set up in each host town.

After experiencing the Island, Sunshine Coast and Squamish, racers roll across the ultimate finish line on July 4 in Whistler.

To complete seven days in the saddle requires months of training and preparation that verge on Ironman proportions — training time on the bike can range up to 20 hours per week.

Nearly 70 Lower Mainland athletes have signed on for the week-long adventure