Over the past 19 years, the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race has earned the reputation of being one of the most physically and mentally demanding point-to-point bike races on the planet.
Not only is it 70 kilometres long, there are many challenging road sections, rock sections, and single track sections to cycle through. There is also a serious elevation gain from the Squamish area, at sea level, to Whistler, including the 10 km uphill trail to the microwave tower on the flank of Whistler Mountain.
To help first timers through the experience ? or to help veterans do the race better ? Level II mountain bike coach and former national team racer Diana Kilby is hosting a special Learn-to-Race Clinic in preparation for the Cheakamus Challenge.
"It?s a familiarization trip, so people get to know where they have to go, and what they have to do ? basically what they?re getting into," says Kilby.
All participants will do the entire Cheakamus Challenge Course, from start to finish, learning as they go.
"The course covers technical riding skills that people will need, sports nutrition, how to race in certain areas, how to conserve energy for the long climb to the microwave tower, how to get down the bike trails on the other side. There is a lot more to it than riding," says Kilby.
She has done the Challenge five times, and "has gotten to know where you can push it, and when you should save it ? how to get from A to B and still be okay."
The course is run through Simon Fraser University?s athletics program. The cost is $80 for the day, including a lunch supplied by Grass Roots Café and transportation from Whistler to Squamish. It starts at 8:30 a.m. at Brackendale Elementary on Sept. 8, and will run all day.
To register for the course, or for more information, you can contact Kilby at (604) 908-9509. It will also be listed on the SFU Web site at www.sfu.ca/athletics/rec.