Mountain States Cup comes to a Climax at Keystone |

Mountain States Cup comes to a Climax at Keystone

Special to the Daily/ Brad OdekirkFrom downhill to mountaincross to cross county racing, this weekend will have it all.

KEYSTONE – For nine years, mountain biking has dominated Keystone Resort during the Labor Day weekend. This year is no different.Three days of competition appealing to every discipline of mountain biking begins on Friday as the Keystone Climax makes its debut.Replacing the Snake River Challenge, the Climax will feature similar events, but with new courses and a new promoter, CycleCyndicate of Denver.”Keystone is known for such great terrain” said CycleCyndicate spokesperson Pamela Jean. “It’s an honor to be able to come to the mountain and put together this event.” The Arvada-based organization runs several events in the Mountain States Cup, including the Tour of the Canyonlands in Moab, Utah, The Full Tilt in Telluride and the Blast the Mass in Snowmass.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Keystone event will serve as the finals in the States Cup, a championship series that spans the Rocky Mountains with events in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. A handful of local mountain bikers will be able to use this weekend’s races to secure an overall title in the summer-long series.Cross-country expert women Ronie Graczyk (30-34 age group) and Mary Scheifley (40-and-over) are leading their divisions, as are 35-39 men’s expert rider Todd Smith and 35-39 sport men’s racer Darron Cheek. Thomas Hoffman (30-35 men’s sport), Rebecca Trainor (19-29 women’s sport) and Walker Savidge (junior expert men) are all in second place in their respective cross country divisions, sitting within striking distance of the leaders. Tim Graczyk, the 2004 A Racer’s Edge Summit Mountain Challenge overall champion, will also likely make a hard charge at moving up in the top 10. He is currently ranked ninth in the men’s semi-pro cross country division.In the gravity disciplines – downhill and mountaincross – Ryan Sutton is sitting in the No. 2 spot of the semi-pro division, and Leland Turner is in the same position in the 25-29 men’s expert division. Sport riders Matthew Mazzacaro (19-29) and Tina Ell are also in second.

Junior racer T.J. Fisker is first in the junior sport division. “(T.J.) pretty much has it wrapped up unless he falls (this weekend,)” said the Fisker’s mother, Katherine. The festival begins on Friday as all three courses – mountaincross, downhill and cross country – open for practice. Actual racing begins on Saturday, with the mountaincross dominating the day. Qualifiers begin at 10:30 a.m.; the finals are set for 4:30 p.m.This unique format of racing where four riders power down a short, technical course of bermed turns and double jumps made its debut at last year’s Snake River Challenge. In an effort to make the format more appealing to women, CycleCyndicate is offering free registration to all female beginner and sport competitors in the mountaincross discipline.

On Sunday, the cross country races begin with the first wave heading out at 8 a.m. Additional waves will continue to start throughout the morning.The Climax concludes on Monday with the downhill finals on a redesigned course that features a blend of old and new trails. Preregistration will remain open for all events through today at Registration also will be available at Keystone for an additional $10 beginning Friday at 8 a.m.The mountain bike festival coincides with the resort’s annual food festival, A Taste of Keystone, slated for Sept. 9. The weekend will also feature live music each afternoon.Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

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