Kassel wins first Fall Classic
With the driest course conditions in many years, the racers looked unusually clean coming through the finish line at the 20 th anniversary of the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race Saturday, Sept. 21.
Aside from a handful of DNFs due to the heat and mechanical failures, the majority of riders finished the entire 71-kilometre race course, from Squamish Airport in Brackendale to the base of Whistler Mountain this year.
Not surprisingly, the overall Cheakamus pro expert mens title went to Victorias Roland Green for a record fifth time.
The 28-year-old has had a remarkable season so far, winning the Commonwealth Games, the world relay title, and his second consecutive world championship title. Still, he says the Cheakamus Challenge was a nice way to round out the mountain bike season.
"I love this race, this is one of the great races," said Green, who completed the course in two hours, 48 minutes and 16 seconds an average of more than 25 km/h.
According to Green, he started the day "pretty easy, strolling through the fast parts. Geoff (Kabush) and I just rode together for most of the day, we didnt start racing until Microwave (Tower) road. I lost him somewhere on the climb, and just had a blast coming down," said Green. "The new route through the bike park was a lot of fun."
Green will be switching to his road bike for the next few weeks and he hopes to finish in the top 10 at the world championship time trials in Belgium on Oct. 10. After that he says he will take four or five weeks off the bike before getting back into training for next season.
"Overall Im very happy with my season this year. My biggest goals were the world championships and the Commonwealth Games, and I achieved both of those.
"The World Cup races didnt always go my way, but its a longer schedule next year with six races. Id like to see even more in there. The way it is now, you can be on top in every race but if you cant make every race for some reason, or you have a bad flat or break your bike, that could cost you the whole title.
"More races mean the overall title will go to the most consistent rider."
Green didnt know if he would be around for the Cheakamus Challenge next season, but said he would race again in the future if he was able.
"It really is one of the oldest and best races around, and its not easy. Their numbers were down this year, but Id like to see them go up again to where they were a few years ago with a thousand people out there," he said.