Whistler cyclist a candidate for Hell Ride 

Whistler’s Vanessa Carrington is no stranger to long bike rides, but admits she’s still a little nervous about Hell Ride — a two-day event sponsored by Santa Cruz Bicycles that finishes with a 70 mile (112 km) singletrack bike ride with more than 10,000 feet of climbing under a hot sun in Downieville, California.

Carrington first heard about the event on mountain bike blogs, and went to the Santa Cruz website to enter. Now she is one of 15 men and 12 women to make the cut out of more than 500 candidates, and could be one of four women to advance to Hell Ride.

“In previous years they’ve just had one male and one female, but they’ve made it for four men and four women this year and the first day will be a kind of Fear Factor/Jackass/American Gladiators day — basically a bunch of tests that have nothing to do with mountain biking, but let you earn time bonuses for the ride the next day. Which should come in handy.”

After stuffing participants with food and drinks after the tests, riders will get a head start on the singletrack portion of the race based on how well they did in the challenges. After the time is up, sponsored riders from Santa Cruz will chase down the riders on course. If Carrington finishes ahead of Rachel Lloyd, a member of the Santa Cruz team, she gets to keep the Santa Cruz Nomad bike she’s provided with — a value of over $5,000.

And if Carrington holds off Lloyd and manages to win the bike, she plans to donate it to the Richard Juryn Memorial Fund, in memory of Crankworx founder and mountain bike advocate Richard Juryn. Among other things the fund supports trail development by the North Shore Mountain Bike Association.

Carrington is the only Whistler rider to make the first cut, and has plans to go for a few 100-plus kilometre rides between now and Hell Ride, Aug. 1-2.

However, before she can ride she first has to qualify. Her profile is posted at www.whistlerhellrider.com, and she’ll need a lot of votes to make the top-four. Voting has been extended to July 11.

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