19 th Cheakamus Challenge drawing the big names and young riders
The annual Celebration of Pain mountain bike weekend is just two weeks away, and the number of entries in the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race billed as "2001: A Bike Odyssey" are piling up fast. Organizers are expecting their best turnout ever.
Among the hundreds of early entries are three of the biggest names in cross country mountain biking in Canada and the world.
Victorias Roland Green, 27, the World Cup champion will be going for his Cheakamus hat trick; under 23 cyclist Ryder Hesjedal will be defending his title; and Alison Sydor, a three-time World Champion, will be leading a strong pro womens field.
There are 19 different competitive and not-so-competitive categories to race in, with the top riders tackling the 70 kilometre course in just under three hours. For many, just finishing the race is cause for celebration.
The Cheakamus Challenge takes place on Sept. 22, starting at the Squamish Airport at 9 a.m. and finishing in Whistler Village whenever riders finish.
The addition of the Riverside section a year ago and a new section of singletrack between the Calcheak campground and the basalt columns on Highway 99 made the ride a little longer and a little easier at the same time. Not knowing what effect the new trail additions will have on the race, organizers will refund the entry fee of any rider who can complete the course in under three hours.
The parents of Geoff "Lumpy" Leidel are once again giving $100 each to the top male and female out of the Cheakamus Canyon, to honour their son, an avid mountain biker who was killed in an avalanche while skiing the backcountry 1997.
You can register for the Cheakamus Challenge online at www.cheakamuschallenge.ca, or by visiting supporting bike shops: Dizzy Cycles in North Vancouver, Corsa Cycles or Tantalus Bike Shop in Squamish, Whistler Bike Company locations in Whistler and Pemberton, and the Cove Bike Shop in Deep Cove.
The following day (Sept. 23), race organizers present Ride 01, a free clinic for kids aged 10 to 15 led by Green, Sydor, and other members of the national team. The clinic will run from 10 a.m. until noon, and includes all-day access to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. To register, contact the race office at 604-938-1799.
That afternoon, the Tantalus Bike Shop will host the first PNuts Wild Ride, an experts and lunatics only downhill down 19 th Hole, one of the longest and most technical downhill trails in the Squamish area. Entries are limited and all interested participants should contact Tantalus at 604-898-2588.
On Sunday night, things will slow down a little bit with the First Annual Cheaky Awards to honour and roast some of the legends and pioneers of mountain biking in the Sea to Sky area. There will be a slide show and a video presentation of mountain biking in the region. All proceeds will go towards the Youth Trail Fund Project of the Sea to Sky Trail. Tickets are available by calling the race office.
For more information or registration, visit the "2001: A Bike Odyssey" Web site at www.cheakamuschallenge.ca , or contact the race office at 604-938-1799.