Summit Bike Club changes policies as membership grows |

Summit Bike Club changes policies as membership grows

Racers in the Soldier Hollow Pro XCT bike race, part of the Soldier Hollow Bike Festival, compete in the 2018 C1 race. MJ Turner, the race director and founder of Summit Bike Club, says the race's classification has been upgraded by UCI, the sport's governing body.
Courtesy of Summit Bike Club

Summit Bike Club, the Park City-based mountain biking club, has expanded rapidly since it was founded in 2012.

It now has chapters in Utah, Texas, Colorado, Idaho and Georgia, and is increasingly a national organization. As a result, the club is adjusting to the growth with changes in its programs and membership, which it will address in a meeting at the auditorium of the Summit County Library’s Kimball Junction branch on Dec. 4 from 6-7 p.m.

“We’ve got new people, and how we’re working on stuff is all new,” MJ Turner, the club’s president and founder, said. “But it’s still about cycling.”

Summit Bike Club provides competitive mountain biking programming, community events and races.

The club will use a membership-based system in 2019, instead of a program-based system, meaning for the first time, athletes will be required to purchase a $75 annual membership, but can join the club without joining a specific program.

“All of programs are consistent across all of our regions,” Turner said. “And that also allows opportunities for adults and parents to become members, which gives them some benefits.”

Members get a jersey, discounted program registration, support and discounts for SBC-sponsored races and events and some supplementary insurance at races. The change is meant to help the club organize its membership, as well as provide opportunities for nationwide support.

“If they were in Massachusetts, someone could still become a member and be part of the organization,” he said. “That’s one of the benefits for our athletes who race on the national level. When we go to travel to California, all of our athletes from the different chapters can go together and work as a group. So the membership is consistent across everything, and provides that club aspect to it.”

Another change involves the club’s programming.

It has historically provided programming for competitive mountain biking only, though athletes weren’t required to race. This year, the club will debut an adventure-focused program for youth who want to ride in a structured environment but don’t necessarily want to compete.

“In the past (we’ve offered) U19, U15 and U12 age-based programming,” Turner said. “Now they will have a race and an adventure program for those older athletes, so they can kind of choose which program they want to be with depending on what their goals are.”

While the race teams will practice on technical riding, the adventure groups will be more focused on getting out on longer rides.

“The adventure one might do something like start at (Park City Mountain Resort), go across the (Wasatch) crest, then back down,” Turner said.

Some of the club’s coaches and athletes will also be at the event to talk about the club’s programs.

Turner said the event would be informative to “parents, kids and anyone who is interested in becoming a member and joining a program.”

Soldier Hollow Bike Festival

Summit Bike Club also hosts the ever-growing Soldier Hollow Bike Festival and the Wasatch 360 bike races.

The club applied for an stage hors catégorie designation for the Bike Festival last season from the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s governing body, and Turner said it was granted an S1 designation — a Category 1 stage race, which is a step down from the top-flight designation it was seeking.

“They didn’t give it to us since this is our first stage race and there’s only three in the world,” Turner said. The designation would have put the race among some of the most prestigious in the sport. For example, the Tour of Utah has the equivalent of a SHC classification in road biking, called a 2HC.

He said the Summit Bike Club would keep trying to upgrade the race in future seasons, and said he was pleased with this season’s designation, even if it wasn’t the level the club had sought.

“I think it’s great,” Turner said. “I think it’s a good step forward for us, and provides a greater event and keeps people around and gives them more to do throughout the whole week. It fits in with what our goals for the event were in the first place, and aligns it with UCI.”

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