Cross country race at Keystone will finish the MSO season series |

Cross country race at Keystone will finish the MSO season series

KEYSTONE – With Montezuma’s Revenge running full force Saturday, bike racers up for less of a beating might look to the Trail Crew Cross Country race at Keystone instead.

The cross country race is the final race in the 2003 Mountain Sports Outlet (MSO) race series at Keystone, and will be the final experiment for organizers trying to gauge what will work best for next year’s series.

The fledgling series, which launched last season, has suffered sparse turnouts at a couple of its races this summer, but organizers feel that after Saturday’s point-to-point race, they’ll have completed the trial-and-error process.

“After two years, it’s a solid deal; we’ve gotten the same numbers at our races,” said Don Maneth, MSO series organizer. “We’ve gotten great feedback from our racers and we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. It’s good to know we’ve nailed the process. Now it’s a matter of taking it to the next level from the grassroots stage. My goal is to focus on the downhill and the 12-hour. We’ll have to see how the cross country goes, but there’s a lot out there for that crowd already – the Wednesday Summit (Mountain Challenge) series, the Mountain States Cup, the Vail series …”

Last year’s MSO mountain bike series consisted of four events: the Keystone Uphill race, a short-track race, a downhill and the 12-hour race. This year, organizers added the cross country race. The Uphill, which has been run by the Keystone special events department for several years, has elicited a large turnout every year except for this, when about 80 racers showed up to compete despite four inches of snow that fell the night before. The downhill drew more than 80 competitors, and the 12-hour more than 50. The short track, which yielded less than 20 racers, is bound to get cut off the itinerary for next year’s series. The cross country race’s fate remains to be seen.

The race, which organizers were originally going to have sanctioned by the National Off Road Bicycling Association (NORBA), but decided against it this week, begins at the Mountain House and takes racers up and down Keystone Mountain. Each course will consist mostly of singletrack, with beginners and juniors riding seven miles, sport classes 11 miles and experts will face the challenge of 15 miles and 3,400 feet of vertical climbing. Regardless of Saturday’s turnout, Maneth feels the series has served its primary purpose.

“I think we’ve definitely broken even,” Maneth said. “It’s hard to gauge. We give a lot away at these races, to be honest, with the T-shirts and socks and everything. Our whole deal is, we’re not a Maverick Sports or a Mountain States Cup. This series is about promoting Keystone as the premiere mountain biking resort in Summit County and Mountain Sports Outlet as the premiere bike shop. My goal is to cover the costs. It’s really just an advertising vehicle.”

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236,

or at

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