Park City Ski and Snowboard to host trail running series, bobsled bike race
In the spirit of competition — and since there isn’t yet any snow to slide around on — Park City Ski and Snowboard will play host in the coming weeks to a four-part running series and a truly one-of-a-kind bike race.
On select Friday evenings beginning Sept. 25, PCSS will host the Fall Trail Running Race Series. On Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, 9 and 23, participants will race along trails at Utah Olympic Park, with overall top finishers eligible for cash prizes. The cost to participate is $45 per race or $175 for the series, and the races are as follows:
• Sept. 25: Iron Bill to Lower Moose Puddle (4 miles, 800 feet of elevation gain)
• Oct. 2: Yeti’s to Moose Puddle (7 miles, 1,300 feet)
• Oct. 9: Lower Moose Puddle to Iron Bill (4 miles, 800 feet)
• Oct. 23: K120 Climb, 60-minute Crit (480 feet elevation gain per lap)
“These trails provide a wide range in gradient and technical challenge,” said Adam Loomis, head coach of ski jumping and Nordic combined programs. “From the smooth contours of Yeti’s to the rocky switchbacks of Iron Bill.”
The K120 climb, the finale of the series, involves climbing the largest ski jump at the park as many times as possible in one hour, or in other words, multiple Red Bull 400s.
Perhaps even more novel than the trail series is Bike The Bob, a two-part bike race that for qualifiers means the opportunity to race the Utah Olympic Park’s bobsled track. Racers must qualify in a time-trial race up the Utah Olympic Park “Bobsled Road” to determine which participants will advance to the bobsled track race. Racers can ride either a road, MTB, CX, or gravel bike, and the 50 men and 50 women with the fastest times across four age groups (16-18, 19-39, 40-49, 50-plus) will move on. Registration is $45, but those who just want to experience riding up the bobsled track without having to qualify can purchase a $250 VIP pass to do so.
All proceeds from the trail series and Bike the Bob will be used to support PCSS youth programs.
Loomis said PCSS began brainstorming ideas for smaller-scale events this summer, after the cancellation of the Red Bull 400 due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19. Loomis said the group included himself and fellow Nordic and jumping coaches Emma Garrard, Gordon Lange and Alan Alborn, as well as Director of Operations Katie Koemans and Executive Director Christie Hind.
While Bike The Bob may seem novel, this won’t actually be the first time the UOP bobsled track has been used in this way. Years ago, before USA Cycling took over as the national governing body overseeing cycling, there was the National Off Road Bicycle Association.
“Back then, NORBA organized mountain bike races up the bobsled.” Loomis said. “It was part of a ‘King of the Mountains’ overall competition which was reportedly a big hit. But this was a long time ago.”
As they brainstormed ideas for events to serve as fundraisers, the old NORBA races came up. Loomis credits Alborn, a former Olympic ski jumper, with the idea to revive it. First, though, they had to be sure it was still viable.
“To test it out, we sent one of the Nordic combined athletes up the track on his bike,” Loomis said. “He came back excited with the good news that it’s totally doable and a blast to ride up the bobsled track.”
Prizes will be awarded at each race in the trail series, though Loomis wouldn’t say what they are, just that PCSS is excited to show people what they have in store for them on race days. The fastest racers will be given gifts from Suunto and Jaybird, and the top three male and female finishers in the series will receive cash purses.
For Bike the Bob, prizes will be awarded across the four age categories for each gender.
“Given the cancellation of other events this year, these are a key aspect of PCSS’s fall fundraising,” Loomis said. “We’re fortunate to have a very supportive community in the Park City area, and we’re excited about this opportunity to pair fundraising and fun racing.”
Loomis said those who wish to participate should register as soon as possible, as the trail series and bike race are capped at 150 and 410 participants, respectively. Additionally, there will only be 50 VIP passes made available.
To register, visit parkcityss.org.
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Park City resident Jenn Drummond is working on her goal of summiting the second highest peaks on the seven continents.