Mountain bikers have plenty of options in Park City
July 18, 2008
Mountain bikers in Park City will have plenty of opportunities to grind gears and teeth throughout the remainder of the summer, if they didn’t already wear themselves out at the Perfect 10 last week.
New this year, a Park City mountain bike race series will take place at all three local ski resorts. These races are the brain child of Riley Siddoway, a Parkite and professional cycling event coordinator, best known locally for organizing the Tour de Park City, a road race with nearly 600 competitors. The five-race series began just over a week ago and won’t wrap until September.
Siddoway came up with the idea of a locally targeted mountain bike race series some time ago while living in Steamboat Springs, Colo. A race series in that area, he said, captured the interest of community and became a truly local event. In some ways, he patterned the Park City race series after the success of their Coloradan predecessors. "(We) always thought that mountain bike races series on a local level are really cool," he said.
For Siddoway, a Park City-based race series was an easy and natural choice. As he explained, Park City is home to "some of the most incredible mountain biking anywhere in the West." Next year, Siddoway plans to truly take advantage of the local trails by using use some of the municipal trails in Park City maintained by the Mountain Trails Foundation.
Currently, all racing occurs at Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons and Deer Valley. Most of the courses run about five miles in overall length and usually incorporate around 900 feet in elevation change. Enough, said Siddoway, to present a challenge. Pros and expert-division racers are asked to take two laps around the course while everyone else need only complete one. The idea, said Siddoway, is to get everybody done in an hour and on to dinner.
The total cost for each event is $15 which includes a bib number and some race snacks. Through generous sponsors, Siddoway has also secured enough schwag to go around. After the races, Siddoway hopes that contestants will find the time to join other racers at a local bar or restaurant to celebrate the race.
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After the inaugural race last week, Siddoway said that everyone went out for Mexican food. Most of the 25 people who participated also made the time to socialize, he said. Aside from good competition, the race is also designed to support local businesses and bring people together.
All races begin at 6 p.m. and cyclists may register at http://www.mountainraceworks.com or at the race. There is no penalty for day-of registration.
Perfect could well be one description of this endurance event, but painful is probably more accurate.
Mostly local cyclists, but some from elsewhere in the West, hit the Deer Valley trails at 5:30 in the morning last Saturday to begin 10 hours or more of racing on a technical course. Some cyclists came as professional teams complete with mechanics and sponsor tents; others simply brought themselves and a tent.
The starting gun went off just before 7 a.m. and cyclists ran to grab their bikes before they started up the initial ascent. The climb, a fairly grueling and steep series of switchbacks, challenged even the toughest professional racers. Jennifer Hanks, who won the women’s solo division, said that the climb was particularly tough for a 10-hour race.
Following the rough climb, which bottle-necked early in the race but opened up as the day wore on, cyclists were rewarded with a scenic downhill cruise through a meadow before a white-knuckled descent down "Nail Driver."
The greatest challenge, however, for many of the cyclists who raced the entire 10 hours was simply to stay in racing shape. Hanks said that she had to eat at least several times per lap to keep from crashing. Fortunately, her husband, also a bike racer, served as her pit crew maintaining both her and her bike throughout the race.
Even on the tough trail, riders were able to complete many laps. The most that any team completed was 18 and winning solo riders were able to come in with some 13 or 14 laps completed. At seven miles per lap, these riders really added up the mileage.
A total of 143 cyclists joined the event helping to raise thousands of dollars for the Mountain Trails Foundation and Young Riders, said race organizer Heinrich Deters.