19th Pedalfest gets down and dirty
Mountain bikers braved the wind, cold and drizzle as rain threatened in order to race in the 19th Annual Pedalfest XC Race at Deer Valley Resort, which informally kicked off the local season.
Organizers scrapped the original Saturday date due to rain and menacing clouds imperiled a dry race on Wednesday, but delivered only a light sprinkle right before the race.
"It’s a very unique thing to do a big weekend race on a weeknight," said Ed Chauner, race organizer and owner and director of the Intermountain Cup Series. "It changes the feel of things to have the whole weather thing threatening and have it work out. The course wasn’t muddy. We were prepared for the worst but the rain never came."
Racers seemed pleased with the course conditions. "It was really good; everything was packed. There were a couple of muddy spots on the corners so you got a little tail whip," said B.J. Mazzoula of Park City, a rider for the White Pine Touring team.
The seventh race in the Intermountain Cup Series, Pedalfest started and finished at Snow Park Lodge at lower Deer Valley near the Silver Lake Express lift. It took riders up Little Stick in a taxing climb then descended down the back of the Deer Crest section of the mountain on Pipeline and back up the Village road trail to Snow Park.
Open to individuals and teams of all ages, the race offered categories starting at ages 9 and under up through an adult 57-plus category, broken into Beginner, Sport, Expert and Pro skill levels. Racers rode between a half and three full laps with total distance ranging from 4 to 21 miles depending on skill level.
A couple of high profile Cannondale factory racers, 10-time Belgian Champion and 2008-2009 Marathon World Champion Roel Taulison and XCO Pro Rider Marco Aurelio Fontana, were in Park City for a weekend dealer event showcasing next season’s best bikes and showed up to ride in the event. Taulison took first in the Pro Men’s category with a 1:01:35 and Fontana took second right behind the leader with 1:01:53.
"It was unbelievable," said Chauner. "It was the most prestigious pro category we’ve ever had."
Full-scale lift-served mountain biking will be available to the public beginning this weekend as lifts open at both Deer Valley and The Canyons. Lifts are currently open at Park City Mountain Resort.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.