Tour des Suds bike race breaks new ground by starting on time |

Tour des Suds bike race breaks new ground by starting on time

Courtesy Lydia Kluge. Troy Michaud pedals uphill in the 2018 Tour Des Suds.

2018 has been a year of epic, sweeping changes across American democracy and culture. And on Sunday, the annual Tour des Suds bike race in Park City made its own venture into the same, virtually unprecedented territory.

It started on time.

“This is, like, totally unprecedented,” said Clay Karz, volunteer coordinator at the Mountain Trails Foundation, the nonprofit that organizes and raises funds from the race. The race began four minutes ahead of schedule, before 10 a.m.

Karz credited the punctual start to the fact that, beginning this year, organizers began offering packet pick-up the Friday before, cutting down on the number of entrants waiting in line to register on the day of the race.

“That was mostly alleviating stress on our part,” Karz said. “We didn’t have to worry about a giant line on Sunday.”

The clerical adjustments weren’t the only first. The race sold out before the day of the event. And an entire age category was created for Bill Chambers, an 80-year-old cyclist who completed the 7-mile race with a time of two hours and 23 minutes.

Evelyn Dong led the women’s overall category with a time of 52:23, followed by Sharkie Burke with 57:20 and Jessica Arbogast at 58:36.

In the overall men’s category, Aaron Campbell took first place with a time of 46:58 flat. Sam Sweetser came in second with a time of 48:23 and John Osguthorpe brought up third with 48:55.

While the top competitors came to win, the Tour des Suds is also designed for participants to have a good time. Competitors experiment with tandem bikes and wear colorful costumes, which are judged after the race.

Karz said the individual outfits ran the gamut from banana suits to multiple “poop fairies,” a perennial reference to Mountain Trails’ assertion that there are no “poop fairies” to remove dog excrement from its trails. The winner of the individual costume contest was Wendell Brown, taking the form of KISS frontman Gene Simmons.

In the group costume contest, “Vladimir Putin and the Russian Dolls” reasserted Russia’s regional authority despite challenges from Santa Claus and his reindeer and a pack of sorority sisters.

As the event sold out this year, though, Karz said the organizers had no choice but to turn away a host of local riders who arrived on Sunday to register. He recommended that, next year, locals sign up as soon as possible.

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