Mid Week series’ pace set by pros, followed by average Joes | ParkRecord.com

Mid Week series’ pace set by pros, followed by average Joes

Sam Sweetser (27) leads a wave of Mid-Week Mountain Biking racers along a trail at Quinn's Junction Tuesday evening, June 5, 2018. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Tanzi Propst/Park Record | The Park Record

The Mid Week MTB Series rode through Round Valley for the second and final time this season, where area mountain biking professionals set a quick pace through the course.

Leading the women’s professional division, Midway resident Evelyn Dong climbed 1,455 feet over the 12-mile course to finish in 51 minutes, 19 seconds. Dong was followed by Meghan Sheridan at 53:50 and Spring Bastow at 54:41.

Alex Grant, of Salt Lake, took first in the men’s professional division with a time of 44:20, followed by Kade Brasher at 44:23 and Bryson Perry at 44:50.

All told, 28 racers competed in the professional division, which race director Jackie Baker said was about standard for the series.

“We have a lot of stellar riders who live in Utah and visit frequently,” she said. “A lot depends on the overall national race schedule and other special events throughout the season, but we do see heavy hitters coming out. Plus, it’s a fun, social vibe, so (the race was) a great workout on an off week.”

The series also draws professional athletes from outside the cycling world. Taylor Fletcher, two-time Nordic combined Olympian, was among the professional division ranks at Round Valley on Tuesday.

“He spends a lot of time on a mountain bike, but he’s also competing in that pro class where these guys are actually pro mountain bikers,” Baker said.

Fletcher finished in 16th, ahead of two racers in the professional men’s division with a time of 51:01.

Baker said one of the beauties of the Mid Week series is that though it attracts elite racers, it also caters to average Joes.

In fact, Baker said Tuesday’s race saw an influx of beginner participants in both gender categories, as well as an increase in participation in the men’s sport category, which jumped to 66 total participants from 49 at the season’s opener in Heber.

“This week we have seen a lot of new racers – not just new to Mid Week, but new to racing in general – come out, which is really fun,” she said.

And if a racer enters a category with a misconception about their own skill, that’s OK, Baker said — the race isn’t associated with a higher governing body, so riders can easily adjust their racing category.

“But I think that’s what’s so fun about where we live and what this series is,” she said. “Literally anyone can come out and race with us, whether it’s on a dare from someone at the office or a World Champion.”

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