Mountain bike series to join forces |

Mountain bike series to join forces

Jason Starr

SUMMIT COUNTY – A unifying effort is underway with the two biggest mountain bike series in the Rocky Mountain region.

The third-year Mountain States Cup and the second-year Spirit of the Rockies have decided it’s in their interest and the interest of the riders to combine forces for next season. The series worked together – and with local circuits like the Summit Mountain Challenge – to respect each others race dates and not overlap this summer. Next season, they’ll be one entity.

“We have to be respectful of each other, and more importantly, we have to feed off each other,” said Dave Elkin, organizer of Spirit of the Rockies. “We don’t need all these factions in cycling. The goal next year is to be working together and combine the two series.”

The combined tour figures to be more “rider friendly,” Elkin said, with information, registration and licensing all done at one Web site. Both series are currently sanctioned by the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA).

“We’ve been talking and working toward a common goal,” Elkin said. “We’ll have it dialed in, and by September, we’ll have next year ready to go.”

The Spirit of the Rockies is a Colorado-only series that holds mostly cross country races. It stops in Breckenridge Aug. 17-18 for the fourth of six events.

The Mountain States Cup holds races in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. The final two of the nine events will be in Summit County, with the Copper Cup Aug. 10-11 and Keystone’s Snake River Fat Tire Festival Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Last weekend the series was in Crested Butte for the Wildflower Rush. The Mountain States Cup is more involved in downhill events than the Spirit of the Rockies.

With the alternating race dates, riders have been participating in both series this season. Some, though, benefit from focusing only on one and trying to earn series points throughout the season.

“I don’t think riders are choosing one over the other,” said Mountain States Cup organizer Thane Wright, a Summit County local, “but they’re choosing races on an individual basis.”

Elkin hopes the combining of forces next year will help with what he sees as an aging racing demographic. Growth in the all-important 18-25-year-old category has been stagnant, he said.

With a combined marketing and promotional effort, organizers hope that will begin to change next season.

Summit riders prominent in Mountain States Cup

Local mountain bike racers are all over the leaderboard of the Mountain States Cup downhill series this summer.

After the fifth of nine events, Frisco’s Troy Heflin leads the overall standings in the men’s pro division, and Breckenridge’s Emily Johnston is second in the women’s expert division. Johnston won last weekend’s Wildflower Rush in Crested Butte, and Heflin was fourth.

Sport women Jen Abramson of Dillon and Stacy Adcock of Breckenridge also did well in Crested Butte. Abramson placed third and Adcock was fourth. They are fifth and seventh overall, respectively.

Two Dillon riders are faring well in the men’s expert 25-29-year-old division. Todd Olsen was second last weekend, and Ryan Soderberg was third. Soderberg sits in third overall, while Olsen is fourth. Silverthorne’s Shawn McNamara is fifth overall despite a 14th in Crested Butte.

Breck’s Chad Christy took seventh in the 30-39 age class and is fifth overall. Dillon racer, Robert Bergman, is also fifth overall for his 40-49 class. He placed fourth last weekend.

Breck’s William Warren has raced his way to second overall in the men’s semi-pro division, despite a 13th last weekend. Paul McNeil of Dillon sits 12th in the division. Breck’s Kirk Adcock was seventh in Crested Butte and is 20th overall.

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