Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Mountain

The Intermontane Challenge: Challenging on and off the Bike

The Intermontane Challenge wrapped up last week in Kamloops, British Columbia with a 30-kilometer time trial, providing a chance for Chris Sheppard (Santa Cruz-WTB-FOX) and Sue Butler (MonaVie-Cannondale) to cement their overall wins in the week-long stage race.

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

Tinker Juarez on day one. He later forfeited his overall spot after getting lost and DNFing on stage four.
Tinker Juarez on day one. He later forfeited his overall spot after getting lost and DNFing on stage four.

 The Intermontane Challenge wrapped up last week in Kamloops, British Columbia with a 30-kilometer time trial, providing a chance for Chris Sheppard (Santa Cruz-WTB-FOX) and Sue Butler (MonaVie-Cannondale) to cement their overall wins in the week-long stage race.

Neither winner faced significant threats to their overall race leads, and both protected their positions by riding carefully on the sinewy singletrack of Kenna Cartwright Park just on the edge of Kamloops.
Their consistency in the face of heat, hard efforts and confusing courses was rewarded with $10,000 (Canadian) each, possibly the richest winner’s purse in mountain biking. In the men’s race, Brian Cooke and Evan Plews were second and third, while Amada Carey (second) and Sarah Kaufmann (third) rounded out the podium in the women’s race.

A CHALLENGING CHALLENGE
By now, word of relative disorganization, course confusion, and other issues plaguing the race has spread by way of news reports and Internet forum posts. Promoter Chuck Brennan does not deny that his first-year event withstood more than its share of growing pains. Asked how he felt after this year’s event, his first as a race promoter, he said, “Educated! We’ve got a bit of work to do.” But he added, “We’re definitely a ‘go’ for next year.”
Brennan is pledging to improve for 2010. He says that the city of Kamloops and the tourism board are still behind the event. He’s not had a chance to speak to BCLC officials, the provincial lottery that also sponsored this year’s edition.
“The first thing we’re doing is recruiting someone with an endurance race background and I’ve already started that process. We want to make sure the race is done right,” said Brennan. “There were obviously some signs we could have done a better job and experience played a role in that. I need someone with some serious experience,” he concluded. “As a group, we learned a ton.”
During and after the event, Brennan received a great deal of feedback from riders. Most comments related to inadequate course marking, motorcycle support during and after each stage, and safety. He acknowledged, “There were a few areas we missed the mark on.”
In general, Brennan said he was somewhat understaffed. “We needed more people to help out,” he said. “And definitely more race support on the course so racers don’t feel so abandoned,” he added.
“We’ve put a lot of work into it and want the race to go forward in a positive aspect,” concluded Brennan.

The time trial

By the stage 5 TT, many participants were exhausted and simply ready to wrap it up. A week of record temperatures had made for unusually challenging conditions.

The race started 45 minutes late, as several portions of the course reused the same trails and upon a rider’s suggestion required more marshals than originally planned. At one-minute intervals, the fastest riders rolled out first.

Sheppard stamped his authority on the race by crossing the line with the fastest time of 1:27:42, more than two minutes faster than Plews. Among the women, Carey was faster than Butler by more than eight minutes, but it was not enough to erase her deficit on GC, and she slotted safely into second overall.

“I went hard today on the climbs, because you can’t just go easy, and regardless, it would have been a hard battle today,” said Sheppard, later that evening. “Ben was just 3:20 behind (overall, had he finished stage four),” he continued. “Who knows, you could have gone off one of those corners… just those subtle little mistakes can start piling up.”

After picking up his winner’s check, Sheppard said he was happy with the win, but would rather have not seen his competitors crash out. Jeremiah Bishop and Benjamin Sonntag had sustained race-ending injuries on prior days, and Tinker Juarez forfeited his overall position after getting lost and DNFing on stage four.