Mountain biking series brings local community together
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Mountain Challenge isn’t just for the hard-core racer. It’s now appealing to a wider demographic, like kids and parents.Over the years, the number of races have grown, and arrows, not ski poles, are used to mark the trails, according to its director Jeff Westcott “There’s a category for everybody in a variety of age breakdowns,” Westcott said of the local mountain biking race series, which is entering its 22nd year. “Courses are ability appropriate. There can even be up to four different courses for any given race.”One of Westcott’s primary goals for this year’s series is to build the women’s beginner category.”There’s an initial intimidation that only the hard-core race,” said expert-level rider Kate Chapman. “But females have a pretty good chance to win. Plus guys dig chicks on bikes.”Chapman has progressed through the ranks from beginner to expert over the past 14 years.”The participation of kids and watching them see what they can accomplish is the most rewarding thing,” Westcott said. “It’s phenomenal.”Greg Guras founded the series in 1987 and turned it over to Westcott in 2001. Westcott, an alpine ski coach for Quantum and an avid mountain biker, took over SMC because he had a vision – to combine his passion for athletics and event production.Since taking the helm, he’s worked to increase participation in a variety of SMC categories. With 26 racing categories now available, there’s a spot for every interested biker.”The cycling community here is a great group of people,” Westcott said. “It feels like I’m hosting a big party at every event.”The series has grown from an average of 175 participants per race to 230 since 2001.According to Tim Faia, a local rider who’s won the series in both expert/pro (1998) and single-speed (2007), the series is important to the community because it gives people the opportunity to experiment with racing bikes in a low-pressure atmosphere.After the Breck Brawl season finale, the top three riders in every category are recognized. Points are accumulated for each event and the best six out of seven events are tabulated.”The atmosphere of the series is friendly – friendly competition,” Westcott said. “It’s an opportunity for like-minded people to get together and hang out. … It promotes camaraderie and community.””It’s never about the prizes,” Faia said. “It’s about getting out there and having fun. …It’s a great way to get out after work.””These races prepare you for bigger races,” Chapman said. “It’s a way for businesses to get behind the community and it really puts Breck on the map as a mountain bike hot spot.”For more information, visit http://www.mavsports.com.Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Info Box:SMC Race ScheduleJune 4 – Frisco RoundupJune 14 – Tour de TrashJune 25 – Gold Run RushJuly 16 – Swan River RampageJuly 29 – Breck Nordic Center KIDS ONLYJuly 30 – Peaks Trail Time TrialAugust 13 – Pennsylvania Gulch GrindAugust 20 – The Breck Brawl
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