Hammerfest at the Hollow hits the trail | ParkRecord.com

Hammerfest at the Hollow hits the trail

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

Soldier Hollow may have been designed for cross-country skiing, but mountain bikers know that when the snow melts its one of the best venues in the state.

This weekend, local fat-tire fanatics will have the opportunity to take advantage of the winding track in Midway at the Fifth Annual Hammerfest at the Hollow.

According to race organizer Ed Chauner, one of the best features of Solider Hollow is the ability to actually watch the race. With the timing tower located at the course infield, spectators can climb to the top and see a good portion of the race a luxury not afforded at most of the other mountain bike race courses.

"It’s very unique for a bike race," Chauner said. "It’s user and fan friendly."

Using a true competition venue also makes it the ideal stop for the first-time mountain bike racer. The course is well-maintained and if a flat or injury occurs, help is less than five miles away at any point.

"It’s nice, because the course is non-threatening," Chauner said. "You’re always close to home."

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The course is a nine-mile loop with an elevation rise of about 1,000 feet. Chauner says that it is a good combination of open-road and mountain single-track.

The race marks the fourth in the Intermountain Cup series, which welcomes racers from Utah and surrounding areas in beginning to expert divisions and all ages in between. The first two races took place in the sunnier southern Utah regions, before moving up to Lehi on a cold and rainy May 5. This weekend should deliver good weather and Chauner is expecting a big turnout.

Thus far this year, he has been setting new attendance records with 300 or more racers. Even in Lehi 280 bikers were entered.

"For us that’s great to see," Chauner said.

The ICS also offers a unique day-of registration, which Chauner feels encourages beginners to try racing and allows competitive racers to never feel overwhelmed by the series. The late fee is a reasonable $5.

"I have racers say they use it as an insurance policy," Chauner said.

Registration will be held Saturday in the Soldier Hollow Day Lodge from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Races for youth 10-12 and nine-and under will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the cross-country race at 10 a.m. Day-of racing fees are $36 for sport and expert racers, $25 for youth 12 and $45 for pro men and women. Spectators may watch the race for free. For more information on Hammerfest or any ICS race, visit http://www.intermountaincup.com.