Hell comes to High Country
BRECKENRIDGE – It’s Hell in the best sense of the word, and not as scorching as you’d think. Hell in the High Country fires up Saturday in Breckenridge, and features some of the best mountain biking terrain in Summit County.
Hell in the High Country is part of the Subaru Spirit of the Rockies mountain bike series that takes place at highly distinguishable venues throughout Colorado.
“The Breck race is the first one that’s really a mountain course,” said Dave Elkan of Handle Bar and Grill, and Spirit of the Rockies coordinator. “Our first three races were high desert, so we’re real psyched about this one. It’s one of the best courses around.”
The first three Spirit of the Rockies races took place in Fruita, Denver and Gunnison. Hell in the High Country begins at Good Times Adventures, on Tiger Road in the Swan River Valley. The cross country course takes racers onto mining roads, single-track and across just about every type of terrain imaginable. Expert and pro riders do a 20-mile course of three separate loops, sport riders do 14 miles, and beginners and juniors do 10 miles.
“The expert descent is some of the most demanding downhill terrain,” said event organizer Thane Wright of Warriors Cycling. “The courses should be real fun. They have a little bit of everything. It’s a fun venue because it’s away from the ski resort infrastructure. It’s a chance to get out into the woods and relax a bit. Last year, we had riders from all over the state come in.”
Hell in the High Country is sanctioned by the National Off Road Bicycling Association (NORBA) and thus requires a license, which racers can purchase for $5 for the one-day event. As an incentive to those new to the race circuit, organizers are also offering a special $10 registration fee for first-time racers.
“The only part that’s really hellish is the last loop the experts do on American Gulch,” said Mark Taylor of Great Adventure Sports, which has been affiliated with the race since it began years ago as the Ghost Town Cup. “The race got really big last year. It’s nice not being on a ski area. People are getting tired this time of year, but it’s a really nice, scenic setting out there on the three forks of the Swan.”
The Spirit of the Rockies Series is renowned for its challenging venues that include courses that largely cater to beginner mountain bikers. A free kids race for children ages 12 and under will take place at noon Saturday after older racers finish their loops.
Racing begins at 9:40 a.m. Saturday at Good Times Adventures on Tiger Road in Breckenridge. Pre-registration is available at http://www.handlebarandgrill.com through Wednesday and is $30 for adults, $25 for children 13-18, $10 for first-time racers and free for kids 12 and under. Registration also will be available at Great Adventure Sports in Breck from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, or on site before the race with an added $10 late fee. Riders without a NORBA license can purchase one-day licenses on site for $5. Spectators are advised to leave dogs at home. For more information, visit http://www.handlebarandgrill.com, or call Great Adventure at (970) 453-0333.
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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