Cheakamus Challenge to be a three-day festival 

With the Test of Metal mountain bike weekend over for another year, there is one endurance race that adrenaline junkies might want to circle on their calendars – 2001: A Bike Odyssey, featuring the 19 th annual Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race and the annual "Celebration of Pain" weekend.

The 70 kilometre Cheakamus Challenge is the main event, attracting 800 overt masochists to the area – with the course starting in Brackendale and climbing up to and over Whistler Mountain, most of those kilometres are uphill. The demanding ride attract some of the top riders in Canada and North America, and most of the past winners have gone on to World Cup and Olympic fame.

World Cup racer Roland Green, the current points leader, will likely be back to go for his Cheakamus Challenge hattrick. He’ll face a distinguished list of other pro elite and national riders that includes Ryder Hesjedal, Geoff Kabush, Andreas Hestler, Chad Miles, and Ruedi Schneider who will be trying to build a dynasty of their own.

On the women’s side, Melanie McQuaid will defend her title from a field of riders that includes Alison Sydor, Leslie Tomlinson, Trish Sinclair, and local Nikki Cassels.

Trail crews are even now working to take one section of highway out of the trail, piling rock after rock to create a corridor from the Calcheak parking lot to the basalt columns.

Another event to watch for is the Peanuts Wild Ride Downhill, which will be hosted by Al Ross and Trent "Peanut" Lynn of Tantalus Bike Shop and Epic Cycling.

Riders will reach speeds over 80 km/h and they race down the Ring Creek Rip and Powerhouse Plunge in Squamish. Entries will be limited to 150, and riders will start in one-minute intervals.

Also new this year is a series of free Ride 01 cross country, downhill and trials clinics. World Cup pros will host the clinics, and free rental bikes will be available for participants. Following the clinics, there will be a fund-raising slide and video show to raise $1,000 for youth cycling initiatives targeted to newcomers.

More information on 2001: A Bike Odyssey will be available on the Web site at www.cheakamuschallenge.com.

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