Mountain bike races return to Summit with Frisco Roundup
Summit Mountain Challenge kickoff first traditional MTB race since 2019
Moments before the first finisher of the day crossed the finish line on Wednesday, June 9, Summit Mountain Challenge Event Director Jeff Westcott reflected on what this moment meant to him and the rest of the Summit County mountain bike community.
Up above 9,000 feet, Summit isn’t just a destination for visiting mountain bikers. It’s long been one of the most together mountain biking communities in the country. And since 1987, the Frisco Roundup has been a core event in the annual summer cycling scene for Westcott and other community members who helped to build — often quite literally — the ecosystem of fat-tire trails.
“It feels normal, and it’s really great to see people, literally — with no masks,” Westcott said. “It’s been two years, and it feels like we didn’t miss a beat. People are here ready to go and my crew is awesome, and thanks to the (U.S.) Forest Service, the town of Frisco and the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee.”
Last year Westcott hosted a Frisco Roundup and Summit Mountain Challenge within the parameters of local and state COVID-19 guidelines. The format meant racers could ride through a pre-marked course on their own time and use the popular Strava exercise tracking application to share the GPS data of their results. The combined times would manifest a leaderboard, winner and podium.
Longtime racers like Todd Greenwood of Blue River said the 2020 racing format was great in that it provided a mountain bike outlet for riders like him. But it was far from the festive event that is a Summit Mountain Challenge race.
“It kept you motivated in a strange year, but there’s nothing like hanging out with your friends, riding fast and having some head-to-head competition,” Greenwood said. “You can’t replicate that.”
After completing the race in second place in the packed expert men 40-49 division (1 hour, 6 minutes, 15 seconds), Greenwood joked with racer Max Wippermann of Silverthorne that he hadn’t stared him in the eyes in two years — since the last normal Summit Mountain Challenge race. Wippermann, who raced to sixth in the pro open men division (1:08:56) said he only raced in one virtual race last summer and was glad the event was back to its old self.
“It’s pretty nice that everything is opening up again,” Wippermann said. “We are going back to doing normal things, and we aren’t wearing masks inside stores any more. I think it’s good to go back to normal again.”
The overall winner on Wednesday’s 13.5-mile flowy, dusty singletrack was the man who has consistently dominated the series in recent years, former pro cyclist Taylor Shelden of Breckenridge (1:01.35). Shelden said it was fun to ride some recently built singletrack at the peninsula.
“And you can definitely tell the community feel with the people out here spectating,” Shelden said. “It feels like we are — I keep saying ’back to normal.’ And it’s nice. I think everyone enjoys it.”
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