Connect the dots
July 17, 2009
The Perfect 10 Relay and National Mountain Bike Series (NORBA) may not be returning to Park City this summer, but don’t retire your RockShox just yet.
Local mountain bike enthusiasts Jay Burke and Shannon Boffeli have been busy designing the Park City Point 2 Point, a brand new endurance mountain bike race designed to challenge top riders from Summit County and around the country.
Burke, who also created the Midweek Mountain Bike Race Series, had the idea for a Park City-based endurance race about three years ago. "The original idea came from a race concept for a circumnavigation trail around the whole county, but logistically it was just too hard to pull off," explains Burke. The project morphed into a race utilizing more of Park City’s single-track trails while staying off of private property, and the Park City Point 2 Point was born.
Burke started scribbling down his preliminary ideas for the project early last summer. In the fall, pro endurance racer Shannon Boffeli approached Burke with an offer to help get the ball rolling. "He brings a ton of experience just purely from doing the races," says Burke.
While Boffeli is taking care of the logistical aspects of the race, Burke is focusing on marketing, public relations, sponsorship development and getting the word out. That part of the planning is right up his alley, considering that when he’s not dreaming up elaborate race courses, he runs a communications company out of Park City.
Before biking season clicked into high gear this year, Burke set up a website (http://thepcpp.com ) and a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/PCpoint2point ) for the event and scheduled meetings with the powers that be on the local trail scene. From the city to the county and from Basin Recreation to the resorts, there are so many people to bring together, Burke says. "I’m really excited that everybody sees the vision and sees it as an event that’s worthwhile for Park City."
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The race will take place on Sept. 5, and if you think you’re up to the challenge, you’ll want to get into training mode now. This race is no ride in the park. The course will cover about 75 to 80 miles of Park City’s diverse trail system and riders will climb approximately 12,000 vertical feet.
Burke and Boffeli have mapped out more than 90 miles of trails and are in the process of paring the course down to a manageable distance. The reason for trimming the total distance is based on the amount of projected daylight. "Go any more than that and we’re talking 14-to-15-hour finish times," says Burke.
The course consists mostly of single-track trails with a dirt road at the beginning to spread out the competition. Riders will hit many of Park City’s favorite haunts as well as trails at each of the three ski resorts. "We’re really trying to use the very best of the trails and not use any of the trails twice or cross over on any of them," explains Burke. "A lot of other races incorporate paved bike paths and service-type roads, and what’s really unique about this race is that it will be primarily single-track."
As the course is finalized, Burke will post maps, photos and video trail teasers on the website. The course will also be converted to a GPS-friendly format for riders to upload to their navigation units, which Burke highly recommends for participants.
He hopes that the event will draw local athletes as wells as some of the country’s top racers, which will help generate buzz about the event and also promote Park City as a hub for recreational activities. "One of the reasons we wanted to create this event is because we have such a great system of trails, and we feel we need to get the word out."
"It’s very realistic to think that if we do a good job with this thing then next year it will sell out in no time at all especially when riders find out that the course is all single track and doesn’t travel in a loop those are things that are really appealing to endurance racers," he adds.
In terms of the level of riding, Burke says, "A rider has to be fairly comfortable riding all types of trail and be confident that they can be out on the trail for up to 13 hours." He estimates that faster riders will cross the finish line in seven to eight hours and average riders will complete the course in nine to 10-and-a-half hours.
Endurance racing, he notes, isn’t necessarily about winning. "It’s about meeting a goal, whether it’s finishing the race or beating a personal time. It’s more about racing against yourself than racing against everybody else."
The race categories for solo riders include: open male/female (in which riders of all ages compete for a cash prize), single-speed male/female, 29 and under male/female, 30 to 39 male/female, and over 40 male/female. Solo riders must be 18 years or older.
There is also the option to ride in the duo male, female or coed category. Rather than a typical 50/50 split, the duo category will involve one shorter, steeper leg and one longer, less technical leg. Duo team riders must be 15 years or older, and there are no age divisions. This category is a good option for anyone who feels unprepared to spend 10 hours on a bike, says Burke.
The race starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5, at the Quinn’s Junction Recreation Complex. A pre-race meeting will be held on Friday. The entry fee is $120 for solo classes or $190 for duo classes; after Aug. 5, the registration fee will increase to $150 for solo riders, $240 for duo teams. Participation is limited to the first 300 riders.
All racers will be entered in an opportunity drawing for ski passes, bike parts and other prizes. The first 200 riders to sign up will receive a PCP2P swag bag, and everyone who completes the race will receive a gift.
As riders cross the finish line at The Canyons, they’ll descend on a community celebration featuring a free concert, refreshments and door prizes. The extravaganza begins at 5 p.m. in the Resort Village and is open to the public. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Mountain Trails Foundation.
Download the race handbook and map, volunteer to help out, or register for the Park City Point 2 Point online at http://thepcpp.com . To take advantage of special lodging packages for race participants, visit http://www.thecanyons.com.