Intermontane Challenge returns in 2010

Rest day added, courses shortened for year two

The Intermontane Challenge mountain bike stage race will return for its second edition in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, on July 26-31, 2010. This five-stage race will showcase new parts of the local trail system to riders from near and far.

Solo racers and teams of two riders will be competing, making two separate races within the race. The race loop on the first four stages will start and end in Kamloops. The fifth stage on the final day of the race will consist of a time trial in the heart of Kamloops. Organizers have changed three of the cross country stages, and the time trial stage will also see some small modifications.

"The Intermontane Challenge is a five-stage 'clover leaf' shaped mountain bike race that will take riders over the world's best singletrack," said race owner Chuck Brennan. "Ascending long singletrack climbs will present the riders with the payoff of big descents. Too bad they won't have much time to enjoy the magnificent views."

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar voiced his support for the race which augments Kamloops's reputation as a sports destination town. In addition, Tourism Kamloops is putting its marketing might behind the endeavour.

Racers reported some problems with the first edition of the event, including problems with course markings and feed zones.

"We had the typical first-year race problems," responded Brennan to Cyclingnews. "The course markings were sometimes confusing for those who didn't look over our maps that we supplied. We plan to have our own logo-ed marking tape in 2010 to remove any confusion. We also had a couple of instances of course sabotage...that didn't help. We will be stepping up security on the our stages.

"The feed zone issue is another area that we will be dealing with. Unfortunately, we had racers who passed through these zones for the sake of saving some time, but after the first day, the racers realized that we were dealing with extreme heat, and feed zones were not an issue after that.

"In 2010, we are shortening a couple of stages and also adding a rest day after the third day. This will move our time trial to a Saturday which will give the community a better chance to come out and see the finale of the race."

Brennan hired two new members of the organization team, Grace and Phil Hiom, who have moved from Calgary to Kamloops to help run the race.

Last year, then-race leader Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie / Cannondale) crashed out of the race while chasing local Chris Sheppard down a trail the latter had ridden many times. In the crash, Bishop compressed vertebrae, sidelining him from competition for several weeks.

Race organizers are working with the local community to foster strong partnerships and develop a long-term, sustainable mountain bike program to serve as a model for other municipalities.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.intermontanechallenge.com.

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