Hed: Summer begins for mountain bike series riders | SummitDaily.com

Hed: Summer begins for mountain bike series riders

Shauna Farnell

FRISCO – For many in the mountain biking community, the summer doesn’t actually begin until the first race of the Summit Mountain Challenge series is under way. And Wednesday’s the day.

The series begins again at the Frisco Peninsula but with modified courses due to ongoing construction in the area. There are different course lengths for beginner, sport, expert and pro categories and the race will surely kick off the series backing up its namesake – falling nowhere short of a challenge.

“The suspense is building on our end,” said SMC organizer Mike McCormack of Maverick Sports. “For us, it means the season’s on. We’re back in the mode we were in last year.”

The Peninsula is the historic opening venue for the series, which was started in 1985 by Greg Guras of A Racer’s Edge.

“Typically, it’s the first terrain available to us in a normal snow year,” said Maverick Sports SMC guru Jeff Wescott. “In some years, it’s been the only area that’s dry. Obviously we don’t have that problem right now. Everything’s dry.”

Wescott described the Peninsula course as “the slick rock trail of Summit County,” because of its fast and technical terrain. While there are no big climbs on the course, there are small ones, and bike gears are bound to get their own workout.

“It’s a tough course, and you’re always having to focus on terrain changes and changing gears,” Wescott said. “Still, we’re totally excited. We’re ready to go.”

There are more than 100 kids already registered to participate in the series, and Wescott and McCormack expect about 150 adult racers to show up Wednesday.

There is a different course available for various categories and each is matched to the riders’ respective skill level.

“We encourage people to come start out in the lower categories,” McCormack said. “For beginners, it’s a shorter course, and a good time to get your feet wet. It’s a very friendly series. There’s a lot of camaraderie you don’t find in the national series. It’s not cutthroat, dog (eat) dog competition. The caliber of athlete that turns up to these races is so high, yet, everyone is neighbors. It’s kind of an anomaly.”

At the race Wednesday, the course for children and beginner women is one lap around the peninsula which is approximately 4.7 miles. The beginner and junior men’s course is 6.5 miles. The sport men, women and veteran’s course is 10.8 miles, and the pro and expert men, women and vet men’s course is 15.25 miles.

Parking for the SMC opening race at the Frisco Peninsula is in the Peak One Pine Cove lot, which is the first turn off of Highway 9 south of the Nordic Center. The race begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday for juniors and 5:45 p.m. for adults. Today is the last day to purchase SMC season passes from A Racer’s Edge for $90 and to pre-register for the race, which is $15 at A Racer’s Edge or on active.com. Race day registration is $18. For a course description or more information on the series, visit http://www.mavsports.com.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at sfarnell@summitdaily.com.

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