Green, Sydor on top in Cheakamus Challenge 

Veteran champions set pace for up and coming Canadians

Although it looked like it might rain on the parade, the 19 th annual Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic mountain bike race Sept. 22 finished under sunny skies before a welcoming crowd of hundreds.

Aside from a few competitors who looked like they spent some time face down in the mud, the conditions were almost perfect for the 70 km race, which is a combination of road, logging road, double track and single track.

Victoria’s Roland Green – wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey he won the week before at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Vail, Colorado – looked like he could have gone for another lap when he crossed the line with a time of 2 hours 52 minutes 38 seconds. It was his fourth Cheakamus Challenge win.

Not that it was a flawless race. Green followed another racer down the wrong dirt road at one point, and had to sprint back to the course to get his lead back.

"It’s always a fun race, always a little unpredictable," said Green. "You look forward to this every year because it’s the end of another season. It’s good to win, but it’s also good just to finish.

"Four of us rode together for the first part, until the base of the climb. It was like a training day that way. We didn’t really start racing until we started going uphill."

Green on Top

Green’s journey to the top of the very international and very distinguished heap took 11 years by his reckoning. He was a successful road racer before making the move to the pro mountain bike tour, where he has improved every year.

"It’s a steady climb. The top five mountain bikers in the world are so close to one another in ability, in the top half a per cent of the sport. If you can make that jump into that group, you have to find something that will give you an extra little edge. For me it was diet."

Green also credits his performance last weekend to his winter training. "I put in a lot more hours of training this winter than ever before with my training partner, Ryder Hesjedal. It’s wet and cold, and you don’t feel like going out, but if your partner’s willing to get wet, you get wet too.

"We push each other that way, and it’s produced results for both of us. Ryder was second in Vail (in the Under 23 race), which is huge for him."

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