The Frisco Bike Park is celebrating the completion of the facility with a race on its latest addition - the Peak 2 Peak Dual Slalom Course.
Bikers will go head-to-head in the race slated for 5:15 tonight at the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area. The course includes rollers, "S" turns and a jump feature at the bottom. The facility is new, the sport is new, the competition is new.
So, the race roster has just a handful of people signed up to compete thus far.
But, bike park manager Jon "Zeke" Zdechlik hopes the festival environment, put on with the help of Lift 106, Culture of Speed and Maverick Sports, will create an atmosphere that draws crowds. And he hopes those crowds will realize the bike park isn't as intimidating as it looks from Highway 9.
"There is an intimidation factor," he said of the beginner, intermediate and expert slopestyle courses, the last of which sits roadside. "It isn't just for the experts. It's for everyone."
The dual slalom and slopestyle courses wind down the hillside, at the bottom of which is a new pump track (use momentum, terrain and body movement to keep the bike moving, rather than pedals) and the jump track, which is a set of large features typically more geared to the advanced and expert riders.
Tonight's race is one effort on behalf of the bike park managers to get attention to the new, free facility. Another was to bring the Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike series to the slopestyle courses via the first event, the Frisco Roundup.
At first, riders questioned the course, Zdechlik said. But after the third lap, he noticed they got into the concept, catching air as they sped through. Now, he sees some of the riders stopping by to try the track out again.
"It's so new, everyone's trying to get a handle on it. What does it mean? What doesn't it mean?" Zdechlik said.
A typical run lasts about 75 seconds, but the dual slalom races could be as fast as 20-22 seconds.
First, riders will do two time trials. Based on those results, they'll be seeded in a bracket of head-to-head races. Winners move on; losers stand back to watch. Racers will have 3-4 opportunities, minimum, to ride the course.
They'll also have the chance to get familiar with this race's setup - the other two scheduled for this summer could see the gate placed elsewhere in the park with a different course - from 3-5 p.m. prior to the event start.
That helps with familiarity as well as strategy, Zdechlik said.
"There's a heck of a lot of strategy with this racing," he said, explaining that some riders choose to launch off the jumps while others ride over them. Deciding how far to go - and how fast - is part of how the rider moves toward victory in the half a minute he or she is riding.
The race is formal at the same time it's fun, Zdechlik said. Two more are scheduled: July 6th and July 13, 2012. Race registration is $25 a race or $65 for the series. Race registration is available online at www.FriscoRecreation.com or the day of at the Frisco Adventure Park Day Lodge.
"What we're trying to do here is have fun and introduce it. It's so new to the county," he said, adding that few courses of its kind exist nearby. Boulder has a much larger one, and Zdechlik said he's had riders from there compliment him on the park, saying they're excited about the setup Frisco provides.
Spectators are welcome at the event, Zdechlik said.
"There are some excellent vantage points," he said. "You can sit on the rocks and watch."
Or, you can play horseshoes, throw a Frisbee, or enjoy a drink on the patio as the race atmosphere takes over the hillside.