Huge bike race season on tap localy |

Huge bike race season on tap localy

Shauna Farnell

Sometimes it’s hard to push oneself to new athletic levels without competition. But that won’t be a problem with the local mountain bike scene this season.

Today is the last day for young riders to sign up for the Mountain Bike Little League. The league is open to riders between the ages of 7 and 17, and membership includes entry to all the Summit Mountain Challenge (SMC) races – one of the longest-running bike series in Colorado. Racing starts June 12 this year with the first race at the Frisco peninsula.

“One of our goals this year is to grow our youth program,” said SMC organizer Mike McCormack of Maverick Sports. “The more kids we can expose to the sport, the more likely it is we’ll see more Americans on podiums throughout the world. When Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, he talked about how a lot of people made it easy for him to ride his bicycle and excel in competition. Where we live is such an incredible gene pool for athletes. The next NORBA (National Off Road Bicycling Association) or Tour de France champion could come from our backyard.”

For those unfamiliar with SMC, it is a series of seven local cross country races for beginner, intermediate and pro mountain bikers. Races take place every other Wednesday night beginning June 12.

“The thing that distinguishes the SMC races from the bigger, NORBA races is there’s a real sense of community,” McCormack said. “It’s as competitive or as non-competitive as each rider makes it. The bull sessions afterward, comparing war stories, are the best thing about them – all the talk like, “I was trying to keep up with you but I couldn’t,’ “Did you see that fall or that corner?.’ With the SMC races, we want to minimize our impact and responsibly use the terrain we do use. We want to keep the grassroots and homegrown feel of the series, where everybody knows everybody else. Yet, we still want to offer some of the glitz and pageantry of a larger caliber race but on a Wednesday night, when all your friends can come.”

Maverick Sports also is organizing the Firecracker 50 race on July 4 and the Fall Classic Stage race Sept. 16 and 17, which also are races in the American Mountain Bike Challenge series. But that’s not all that’s going on in the world of local mountain bike racing this summer.

Keystone Resort and Mountain Sports Outlet (MSO) are teaming up to kick off their own race series this summer. The series consists of four Saturday races beginning with the fourth annual Keystone Uphill Challenge, and followed by a short-track race, a downhill event and a 12-hour endurance race.

“We wanted different events in a series that would showcase the different types of terrain Keystone has to offer,” said MSO Race Series coordinator Don Maneth. “We wanted to offer something for the locals to branch off of the standard Wednesday night cross country races and give people interested in racing in a regional event the chance to check out the biking possibilities at Keystone.”

Keystone has more than 30 trails, roads and bike path routes. The last of the three MSO races will be sanctioned by NORBA and will require a NORBA license. Day licenses can be purchased upon registration for $5.

For more information on the SMC Series, the Firecracker 50 or the Fall Classic, visit or contact McCormack at (970)390-8360.

For more information on the MSO/Keystone races, visit or contact Maneth at (970) 496-1461.

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