Cheakamus Challenge ready to roll 

Volunteers still needed for Sept. 24 race

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Sydor is the favourite with five Cheakamus Challenge titles to her name, although Bisaro managed a sixth place finish in the final World Cup of the season last weekend.

"We’ve got a lot of strong local riders in every age category," said Lamont. "Joanna Harrington is really strong these days, Lesley Clements is leading the Marathon standings. In the men’s race you have guys like Matt Ryan who was fourth last year. Tyler Allison is in it, and he’s just dominating junior races this season."

This year the Cheakamus Challenge is also the fifth and final event in the Cycling B.C. Marathon series, and should attract some of the top long-distance athletes from around the province.

Inclusion in the Marathon Series has also simplified the categories, with all athletes except the pro elite riders competing in their age groups.

With fewer categories, more people in each age group will qualify to win prizes. There will also be cash prizes for the winners in the pro categories, to be determined by the size of the field on race day.

If the race is more popular this year, it should be even bigger next year after some international television exposure. This year the Ride Guide, a mountain bike show on Discovery and OLN, will be doing a half hour show on the Cheakamus Challenge.

The full-course race gets underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Buses are available for Whistler riders to get to Squamish, and for Squamish riders to get home at the end of the day. The short course race gets underway at noon by the Whistler Bungee bridge.

There are two water and food stations on the course, but riders are advised to bring their own water and food. The first aid station is at Brandywine, and the second is at House Rock in the Whistler Interpretive Forest. The House Rock aid station will be hosted by IGA as the Ken Quon Memorial Aid Station in recognition of Ken Quon, a store manager who died of a heart complication while guiding a Wild Willies ride on Sept. 5.

The cost of entry is $60 until Sept. 20, after which point the cost goes up to $65. Day of race registration is available in Squamish, but will cost $75. The price includes the post-race barbecue at Dusty’s, as well as a chance to win draw prizes.

Race organizers are looking for more volunteers to help with course marshalling and first aid. All volunteers will receive refreshments, free swag and a chance to win draw prizes.

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