Let the mountain biking series begin
summit daily news
The first year the A Racer’s Edge Summit Mountain Challenge took place, founder Greg Guras used chalk lines and old ski poles to mark start and finish lines.
The local mountain biking series turns 20 years old this season, and Guras no longer has to donate equipment from his shop to make the event go.
“We’ve progressed a long way from courses marked with orange tape and ski poles” Guras said. “It’s become a professionally-run race.”
Much of the professionalism associated with the SMC comes from the efforts of its seven-year organizer Jeff Westcott.
“Running my shop and putting on the series became too much,” Guras said. “So I started schooling Jeff to take it from there. Now I support him in running the race like he used to support me.”
This year’s series begins Sunday at the Summit County Landfill with the Tour de Trash, which will be followed by the Frisco Roundup on June 7.
According to Guras, the SMC has grown significantly over the years.
“We were excited to get 60 people for any given race during the first year,” Guras said. “We might have gotten 200 racers the entire season. Now we have the potential to get up to 300 people on some days. It’s gotten pretty crazy since back in the day.”
With growing numbers has come better competition.
“It used to be that there were four of five guys duking it out at the top of the expert class,” 13-year series competitor Scott Tanner said. “Now it’s much tighter. You might get third one week and 10th the next with very similar performances.”
The men’s expert division became so competitive, in fact, that it has spawned a new division set to debut this season.
The Pro/Elite category was designed for pro and semi-pro licensed National Off Road Mountain Biking Association (NORBA) riders, according to Westcott.
“It’s an indication of the evolution of talent in Summit County,” he said. “Years ago, most people fit nicely into the same category ability-wise, but some people have progressed.”
James Phelps, who has competed in the SMC for nearly 10 years, believes the addition of the new category is a positive development.
“It brings more depth to the series,” Phelps said. “I think there’s a number of elite racers who wanted their own category and it should give the experts more incentive within their division.”
Brett Morgan is last year’s expert-category series champ in the 19- to 34-year old age group. He said he’ll be glad to make the jump into the elite class as long as it’s reasonably well stocked.
“I think it’s great,” Morgan said. “Hopefully we’ll get a critical mass and it’s not just like five guys. I want to be racing against 10 other guys.”
Morgan, who owns Summit Junior Cycling, currently has semi-pro status.
“I’m in limbo as to whether I should upgrade (to pro) now or at the end of the season,” Morgan said.
Although SMC has grown more competitive over the years, it still has plenty of room for beginners.
“A lot of people hear the word competition and it freaks them out,” Westcott said.
“They think it’s a bunch of people shoving each other around in the woods. Really, it’s not (aggressive). There’s a good group of people who take care of each other out there.”
The 2006 Tour de Trash, Summit County Landfill
” Registration is available in-store or at http://www.aracersedge.com.; same-day registration is also available.
” Fees are $17 with pre-registration and $22 with same-day registration. A season pass costs $100.
” The only opportunity to pre-ride the course in its entirety is Saturday from 4-6 p.m.
Tour de Trash Start Times and Distances
1/2 Lap 2.75 Miles
11:00 Junior Boys 10 and Under
11:02 Junior Girls 10 and Under, 11-12
One Lap 4.5 Miles
11:15 Junior Girls 13-14, 15-16, 17-18
11:17 Junior Boys 11-12
Two Laps 9.0 Miles
12:00 Junior Boys 15-16, 17-18
12:02 Beginner Men 19-34
12:04 Beginner Men 35+
12:06 Junior Boys 13-14
12:08 Beginner Women 19-34, 35+
Three Laps 13.5 Miles
1:15 Expert Women 19-34, 35+
1:19 Sport Men 19-29, Single Speed
1:21 Sport Men 30-39
1:23 Sport Men 40-49, 50+ Clydesdale
1:25 Sport Women 19-34, 35+
Four Laps 18 Miles
3:00 Pro/Elite Men, Expert Men 19-34
3:02 Expert Men 35+
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