Last MTB race of the season is a Classic | SummitDaily.com
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Last MTB race of the season is a Classic

Mountain bikers go rubber to rubber through a corner at The Fall Classic. Founded in 1984, the late-summer race is one of the oldest in Summit County and considered the unofficial end of the mountain biking season.
Summit Daily file photo |

Back in the glory days of mountain bike racing, when bikes were neon pink and green and suspension was a pipe dream, fat tire racing legend David “Tinker” Juarez showed up for a competition in Breckenridge. Hammering up a climb known as Humbug Hill, Juarez crested over the top and did what any self-respecting professional athlete would do – he puked his brains out. Such are the stories attached to the Fall Classic presented by Mountain Outfitters, a rare mountain bike stage race which begins Saturday at 9 a.m. This two-day event challenges mountain bikers to accumulate the lowest total time over the course of three stages – a short track, a hillclimb and an epic cross country race. With a history that dates back to the late 1980s and the very founding of mountain biking, the Fall Classic is now in its third year after taking the better part of a decade off.

Not only is it the final Summit mountain bike event of the season, it has quickly become one of the most popular.”I think people are coming out for that, but we didn’t intend on saving the best for last,” race promoter Mike McCormack said of the finality lure. “It’s also a really neat event. Because it’s a stage race, it’s a shared experience – you’re racing with the same people over the three races.”Several changes are in store for 2004, as the start of the events on day 1 have been swapped and the hillclimb features a new course.Unlike 2002 and 2003, the short track begins the competition, rather than the hillclimb. This race takes place at the Breckenridge Nordic Center on a 2.5-mile course. Each division will sprint through a set number of laps dependent on ability level.

Immediately following the short track is the hillclimb. The stomach-wrenching climb up Humbug Hill is long gone, as is the climb through Breckenridge Ski Area. New for 2004 is a singletrack climb from Carter Park to the Sallie Barber Mine. On Sunday, the competition wraps up with Stage 3, the cross country race. This race begins with a neutral rolling start on Breckenridge’s Ridge Street and Wellington Road before everyone is released to pound out the miles in the scenic backcountry east of Breckenridge. According to McCormack, the cross country route highlights the two-day event. “It’s just a phenomenal course,” he said.The Fall Classic is part of the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC), a nationwide series of marquee races sanctioned by the National Off-Road Bicycling Association (NORBA). NORBA licenses are required, and one-day licenses will be available for the sport and beginner classes for $5 a day.



Registration for all three stages is $75 for adults and $50 for juniors, and will be available until the beginning of the short track on Saturday. Registration includes a T-shirt, a custom pair of DeFeet socks and a post-race awards party and barbecue on both days.For those who don’t want to commit to all three races, individual race registration is also available ($20 for the short track or hillclimb, $35 for the cross country).For complete course information and start times, visit http://www.mavsports.com. Course maps and registration information is also available at Mountain Outfitters.Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at rchitttick@summitdaily.com.


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