Summit Mountain Challenge begins Saturday |

Summit Mountain Challenge begins Saturday

RICHARD CHITTICK/summit daily news
Summit Daily file photo/Brad Odekirk Tim Graczyk, left, leads out a group of expert class racers in a Summit Mountain Challenge race last August. The 18th annual running of the series begins today at 10 a.m. with a hillclimb from the Wellington Neighborhood to the Sallie Barber Mine.

Traditionally, people participate in the Maverick Sports Summit Mountain Challenge by paying for the mountain bike races and then attending the free post-race awards parties afterward. Today, however, things are backward, as the 18th annual Summit Mountain Challenge begins with a free hillclimb in Breckenridge, followed by a $10 after-race barbecue at Carter Park. The race features a 4-mile course which begins on French Gulch Road in the Wellington Neighborhood and climbs 1,100 feet to the Sallie Barber Mine. Registration opens at 8 a.m. at Carter Park in Breckenridge, and racing begins at 10 a.m. with the start of the 19-34 expert men division. The race will not count in the regular season standings.”We’ve always wanted to provide something that was just for fun and was at no cost, and this seemed like a good way to kick off the season,” said Maverick Sports’ Mike McCormack. Since all categories will be competing on the same course, the race will also serve the purpose of helping competitors in the regular season series seed themselves. “Racers unsure about what category to race in this season can use this race to compare their effort to that of every other racer and decide which category best suits their ability,” said Jeff Westcott, also of Maverick Sports.While the race is open to all participants in the Mountain Bike Little League, Maverick Sports’ three-year-old junior program, the course may not be suitable for children under the age of 12, Westcott said. “A four-mile hillclimb would be a rough indoctrination into the sport,” he said. “We still encourage kids who are not racing to come to the barbecue at Carter Park where there’s a fun little circuit to ride that kids can’t get enough of.”While racers will need to ante up for the post-race party, all proceeds are being used to help finance a trip for the little league’s top racers to attend the National Off-Road Bicycling Association (NORBA) national championships this summer.

This year the little league will have over 200 participants. The party begins at noon and will feature a barbecue lunch donated by Downstairs at Eric’s. All members of the community are invited to attend the party. “This is a free race. If 50 people show up, great; if 250 show up, great. We’re more interested in seeing people at the barbecue,” Westcott said. The race is new for 2004 and was created after McCormack and Westcott found out the Keystone Uphill Challenge would not be held this year.”We caught wind of that and saw an opportunity to fill that gap,” Westcott said. The remainder of the Summit Mountain Challenge will take place on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Individuals and teams will begin accruing points toward overall standings at the Frisco Roundup, which kicks off the regular season series on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. at the Frisco Peninsula. For more information, contact Mike McCormack at (970) 333-1159 or visit Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

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