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Cheakamus Challenge on life support


The Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race is still on life support as people are stepping forward to help keep the event alive.

Last week, after 14 years at the helm, Cheakamus Challenge organizer Grant Lamont announced that it was unlikely that the event, which turned 20 last year, would take place this year. Skyrocketing insurance costs are his chief obstacle, with estimates for insurance running in the $10,000 range. Event insurance cost just $1,800 last year, and in Lamont’s 14 years organizing the event, not one claim has been made.

Sponsorship is another concern, with a tough economic climate making it harder to find corporate support. Potential conflicts with Whistler-Blackcomb, municipal, and Tourism Whistler sponsors makes it event tighter.

Since he announced last week that the Cheakamus Challenge might not take place this year, Lamont has received a number of phone calls from individuals interested in helping the mountain bike event to survive.

"There’s been some interest, people who want to get involved in organizing it," said Lamont. "We’ll have to see. It has to be worth my while to do it. I’m not tired of organizing the event, I’m tired of all the bullshit that goes along with it."

Lamont estimates he has spent about 500 hours each year organizing the bike race, a 71-kilometre epic from Brackendale to the base of Whistler Mountain up the Cheakamus canyon.

The date for the Cheakamus Challenge, if it survives, is Sept. 20.

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