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Pedalfest race returns

If a cross-country mountain-bike race seems grueling, Ed Chauner’s job as the mountain-bike rice director is even worse. Well, at least this year.

Thus far, Chauner, who runs the Intermountain Cup Mountain Bike Racing Series, has joined the long list of warm-weather sports aficionados who have had to battle the lingering cold weather in Utah. For the last few weeks, he has spent his time shoveling snow or even rescheduling races due to weather at different venues around the state. This weekend at the 17th annual Pedalfest at Deer Valley, the effects of recent wet weather will once again make his job more of challenge, but Chauner said he’s up for it.

Besides his love for the sport, Chauner is spurred on by the enthusiasm of cycling Utahns despite the elements. This weekend, he expects it to be no different. Park City traditionally comes out in droves for the annual Deer Valley race and this year he expects more than 300 racers to show up along with a large group of spectators.

"A lot of people from Park City race in this every year," Chauner said. "It’s kind of a tradition. People love the course."

And he thinks they will love a new and improved course

Besides the weather-related challenges, Chauner also had to map out a new course. With developments going up just east of the Snow Park Lodge, the usual finish line was out of the question. So Chauner has devised a course that winds up through the hills and comes back down through some condos, across Deer Valley Drive and through the west side of the parking lot.

Mapping a new trail meant more than just drawing it out. Chauner had to talk to landowners to cut the trail though the condos and contend with parts of the course that were still covered with snow. It wasn’t until Tuesday that Chauner had everything ready to go for Pedalfest. Even while he worked on things on Tuesday, rain continued to fall. Chauner says there may still be snow and muddy areas on the track at Saturday’s race.

"There may be some hike-and-bike," he said.

Chauner chuckles as he recalls that a few weeks ago Deer Valley officials said the snow was melting rapidly of course, no one was expecting another handful of storms to hit. Regardless, registration has been strong. He’s even expecting a number of top riders Saturday who will also be competing in the national races to be held in about a month at Deer Valley. The course will be roughly the same for that race.

The new course will actually be better for spectators, Chauner said. With everyone coming through the last part of the course on pavement, fans can watch the racers coming in for a long time. There will also be a good view of some switchbacks as racers make their way through the hills.

Pedalfest will begin at 8:15 a.m. with the children’s nine-and-under and ages 10-12 races. All other categories, including beginner, sport, pro expert and single speed, will begin at nine. Chauner expects all of the racing action to end by noon. Adult races range from seven to 25 miles. Kids’ races are four miles or less. Many of the racers will bike the entire summer-long series, gathering points as individuals and/or teams along the way. There will be day-of registrations available before the first races of the day.

For specific race details, visit http://www.intermountaincup.com.


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