Summit Bike Club hosts Tech Dev Pro XCT
Soldier Hollow could be potential future World Cup site
May 19, 2017
It's easy to revert back to the 2002 Winter Olympics when thinking of Soldier Hollow in Midway. And deservedly so, as the cross-country ski venue has maintained its world-class facilities throughout the years, even hosting the USANA FIS Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships last winter.
But Soldier Hollow, part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, played host last weekend to another professional competition, the Tech Dev Pro XCT. The event, put on by the Summit Bike Club, featured USA Cycling sanctioned races for all ages and abilities, along with UCI C2 sanctioning for elite riders and 17- to 18-year-old juniors.
"We had over 10 states, three different countries, maybe even 4-5 different countries," President and Founder of Summit Bike Club MJ Turner said. "There were a bunch of different people from all over who came into Utah. A lot of them that I've talked to, from Texas and different areas, they were expecting tumbleweeds."
The riders were instead treated to the majestic views from Soldier Hollow and the Wasatch Range, with Mount Timpanogos in the background fleeced with snow. It was a nice break for the Pro XCT racers, who sometimes compete in industrial parks in a big city.
It wasn't a perfect day, Turner said, adding he couldn't complain since the event was the first of this level held at Soldier Hollow.
"It's good for Utah," Turner said. "Just to have one here, so you don't have to travel. It showcases Utah, showcases the Wasatch. It's close to Park City, where we are based. We decided we wanted to put one on and Soldier Hollow was awesome about it and allowed us to build trails and kind of make it this world-class-level event."
Turner and the rest of the members of the Summit Bike Club, named USA Cycling's Mountain Bike Club of the Year for the second time, knew they wanted to host an event like the Pro XCT for the last few years, but figuring out the logistics was tougher than originally thought.
In addition to simply obtaining a willing venue, they also had to figure out race sheets, wireless mics for communication and, of course, a course.
Soldier Hollow was able to provide most of the requirements, minus the course. Turner, with help, was forced to bring the task upon himself.
"They allowed us to use the venue; that was huge in itself," Turner said. "Besides just letting us to use the venue, they allowed us to build trails and features and different stuff that we need to make it at this level."
The course featured treacherous three-minute uphill climbs, followed by fun and easy-going downhills. There were rocks and logs strategically placed throughout, and there were even some jumps.
"I think the locals were pretty astonished by what we put together at Soldier Hollow," Turner said. "The people coming from out of state were really excited about it, too."
Just ask Keegan Swenson, a Park City native who has competed around the globe in various World Cup competitions and in last weekend's Tech Dev Pro XCT, where he won the cross-country and short-track races.
"I think [the Summit Bike Club] did an awesome job with the venue," Swenson said. "Being that it was the cross-country Olympic venue, it has a great stadium area and tons of parking. As far as the course goes, I think it was one of the better courses in the U.S. It had it all; flow, rocks, drops and some steep hard climbs. Not to mention killer views all around."
The Summit Bike Club and Pro XCT has opened doors to potentially holding future professional cycling events. Last weekend's event at Soldier Hollow was sanctioned by Union Cycliste International. The venue, however, has a ways to go before it reaches the World Cup level.
"The next step below is an HC-sanctioned race," Turner said. "That's kind of the highest one-day race that you can do besides National Championships or World Cup stuff. Then there's C1, C2 and C3. We were a C2 this year, so three steps below World Cup."
The goal for next year is to bump up to the C1 classification, and so on and so forth. Turner knows it'll take some work to get to the World Cup level, but it's possible.
"We have to build up to that," Turner said. "That's a couple of years down the road, at a minimum. We want to get bigger."
The Summit Bike Club will be hosting its second event of the season, the Wasatch 360, on May 29. The event is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. above the Utah Valley University campus in Heber City.