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The Fun Gets Funner

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Vermillion River Challenge 2002

The area’s best season-ending mountain bike party is a mere three weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be the best yet. The fourth annual Vermilion River Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, September 7th across the Clark Fork River from Trout Creek, Montana at Vermilion Bay. This year’s event is made possible by the generous support of The River Journal, Alpine Designs, Creative Support Services and Mountain Communications, Inc, and has a noticeably different flavor.

Whereas the past three years have catered primarily to hardcore mountain bikers, kids and families are encouraged to participate this year, as well as avid bikers who want to take on the challenge of Vermilion Pass once again. The traditional 50-mile road course over the pass is still being offered, as well as a 40-mile road and single track trail route over Seven Point Mountain. In addition, four “family fun loops” will be provided on the first Saturday after Labor Day for riders who want it a little easier. Scenic, gently undulating county roads that cover from ten to 25 miles will be marked.

The registration fee for participants will include the opportunity to engage in some of the best mountain biking in the region, plus provide a commemorative t-shirt, ensure a plate at the chili feed after the race and gives each competitor a raffle ticket for a custom built bike frame offered by title sponsor Alpine Designs of Sandpoint and other prizes. The cost is $30 for anyone tackling the road and trail courses, $25 for adults on the family fun loops and $15 for kids 14 and under. 

Registration brochures can be picked up at Alpine Designs, Sports Plus and Sandpoint Sports in Sandpoint, the Sanders County Ledger in Thompson Falls, at Nin’s Local Store in Trout Creek, Snowshoe Specialty Sports in Libby, or in Noxon at the Noxon Mercantile and the Noxon Café. Registrations will also be accepted the morning of the event. Or log on to vermilionriverchallenge.com and print off the registration form and mail it in. To ensure your t-shirt is available the day of the race, register by August 26.

Sign-up begins at 8 am Montana time on the 7th and the race begins at 10. Riders tackling the family fun loops can begin pedaling their way around the Swamp Creek routes starting at 10:30. Cash prizes will again be offered to men’s and women’s first, second and third place finishers in both the road and road/trail courses. 

The after-the-race party will feature a chili feed and beverages free to participants and volunteers and just $5.00 for all others. Raffle prizes will be drawn and Ken Barrett will provide music from his All About Adventures van. Alpine Designs owner Toby Feuling will have a mechanic on hand for bicycle tune-ups before and after the race and will display bikes and accessories at his booth. He is also adding a little spice to the raffle with a custom-built bike frame, valued at $500, that’ll be up for grabs. Ben Suttlemyre won last year’s frame.

Members of the mountain bike racing entourage from Team Sports Plus will be on hand to demonstrate riding techniques, including 16-year old Chris Ginzton on his downhill bike. We’ll be pleased to honor two local riders for their accomplishments: Jamey Yanik, last year’s semi-pro men’s cross country National Champion and Greg Smith, a multiple state downhill champion and overall W.I.M. Series Champion for 2002. Bruce Trejos of Sports Plus will have members from his staff on hand to offer safety and maintenance tips for mountain bike owners at the Sports Plus booth. Other bike shops in the area that will be represented include Sandpoint Sports who will supply water bottles to every participant and Snowshoe Specialty Sports of Libby.

For more information about the Vermilion River Challenge, call event organizer Dennis Nicholls at 406-847-2040, or visit our newly evolving website, vermilionriverchallenge.com 

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Author info

Dennis Nicholls Dennis Nicholls was the founder, publisher, janitor and paperboy of the River Journal from 1993 to 2001. He passed away in 2009.

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mountain biking, Vermillion River Challenge

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