As one the longest mountain bike races in all of Canada, with a route that connects Squamish and Whistler via the Cheakamus River Canyon, race organizer Grant Lamont is nothing if not extremely flexible. With development and construction impacting on some sections of the race, new trails adding singletrack potential, and a highway section, the race route has rarely been exactly the same for two years in a row in its 20-year history.
Last week it was announced that the route will gain about five kilometres of additional singletrack in the Interpretive Forest area, while losing the whole Northwest Passage grunt in order to finish in Creekside at Dustys.
Its unknown what effect this new route will have on the length or vertical of the overall route, but it will still weigh in at more than 70 kilometres.
This year the Cheakamus Challenge is the final event in the B.C. Cup Marathon Series, with riders competing for points in the Marathon standings.
Also new this year, Lamont has created a "beginner race" which is over 40 km and begins in the Brandywine area instead of the Squamish Airport grounds. Also called the "good parts" race, the beginner route includes Trash, Ridge Trail, Riverside Trail, Far Side Trail, Tunnel Vision, and Big Timber, or most of the technical singletrack on the Cheakamus Challenge course.
"(The beginner race is) getting a huge response, its really popular," said Lamont. "There are a lot of people who arent up for the whole Cheakamus Challenge distance, or ride the bigger freeride bikes with fat tires that are signing up. Creekside is also a great place to finish, and Dustys really came through by hosting the after-party."
Transportation to the start in Squamish and at Brandywine is available with registration. For more information visit www.cheakamuschallenge.ca.