Ultimate Challenge returns to Tour of Utah
The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health Care returns for a seventh year on Saturday, Aug. 6. This non-competitive endurance ride for 750 amateur cyclists will be held on the same day and on the same route as Stage 6 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional stage race. Online registration is now open at the event’s new website, RideUltimateChallenge.com.
The 2016 Ultimate Challenge has been revamped to include improvements in all areas, from advanced delivery for all rider packets to the finish-line experience on ride day. The newest addition for the ride experience is the Little Cottonwood Timed Section on the course. Riders will receive their official times to complete the final climb to the finish at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, which can then be compared to the professional cyclists finishing Stage 6. Former professional cyclist David Zabriskie, who grew up in Utah, will participate in The Ultimate Challenge for the first time, serving as the Ride Ambassador.
"I’m proud to have raced at the Tour of Utah four times during my pro career. I’ve actually finished the Snowbird stage three times. Little Cottonwood Canyon is a challenge for any cyclist, amateur or pro. It’s the intense fan support along that final climb that helps everyone keep turning the pedals to the finish line. I look forward to serving as an ambassador for The Ultimate Challenge, hopefully to inspire new riders to do something epic," said Zabriskie, who last competed at the Tour of Utah in 2013 with Team Garmin-Sharp. His best finish on the "Queen Stage" of the Tour of Utah was in 2009 with Garmin Slipstream, when he finished 27th.
For the convenience of all participants, packet pick-up has been replaced this year with rider packet delivery. Bib numbers, registration confirmation and an event T-shirt will be mailed to participants. On ride day, a number of improvements include pro-quality nutrition and ride support at rest stops, new menu items for post-ride meals, and access to a course-side area to watch the conclusion of Stage 6 of the Tour of Utah. Basic registration is $140 per cyclist or $500 for the VIP Pro Continental Package. The Ultimate Challenge VIP Pro Continental Package is reserved for up to 75 riders, with details provided at the website.
"We’ve really listened to feedback from hundreds of participants and taken steps to make The Ultimate Challenge the ultimate experience for amateur cyclists. It is an event which does require attention to training and nutrition, which makes the University of Utah Health Care the perfect partner," said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah.
University of Utah Health Care continues for a third year as the presenting sponsor for The Ultimate Challenge. The company will provide training and nutrition tips for all registered participants via a monthly newsletter.
Last year more than 787 riders completed The Ultimate Challenge, with 88 percent of riders electing to participate in the 109-mile, gran condo-style ride option. Participants represented 27 states and ranged in age from 16 years to 71 years.
The route will begin at Snowbasin Resort and stretch 100-plus miles along the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort. This stage of the Tour is traditionally known as the "Queen Stage" of the seven-day professional stage race, as it features more than 12,000 feet of elevation gain. Course details related to Stage 6 will be announced in May.
Known as "America’s Toughest Stage Race", the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will be held Aug. 1-7. It is a 2.HC-rated UCI America Tour event featuring the top professional cycling teams in the world. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today.
Information on The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health Care can be found by visiting http://www.RideUltimateChallenge.com, as well as Facebook (UltimateChallengeBike), Twitter (@UCbikeride) and Instagram (UCbikeride). For information on the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah visit tourofutah.com.
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Park City is the lone undefeated team in Region 10 play after a 60-30 win over Mountain View. The Miners have three more region games in their quest to repeat as region champions.