cycling utah March 2000
Wide variety of events meet roadies' dreams
By David R. Ward
A few years ago, with mountain biking booming, it seemed that road biking was sinking into obscurity. What a difference a few years can make. While mountain biking is still healthy and strong, it has leveled out. Road biking, meanwhile, has been making a strong comback. A look at this year's road offerings confirms this.
On the recreational scene, Utah's oldest cycling organization, the Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club ("BBTC"), continues to offer up ample opportunity to enjoy being out on your bike. Every week BBTC has anywhere from one to four offerings, spanning all levels of fitness and ability. For good company and a good time on a bike, you need to join BBTC.
BBTC also promotes several major rides each year. This year there are six such events scheduled, all tried and true events from previous years. First, and a concession to mountain bike enthusiasts, is the Antelope Island Buffalo Bike Ride April 15. This is a benefit tour for trail maintenance on Antelope Island, and routes vary from novice to expert.
BBTC organizes three century rides through the summer. May 20, BBTC helps stage Utah's most popular 100-miler, the Cycle Salt Lake Century. This popular ride from the Utah Fairgrounds to Antelope Island and back is flat and fully supported. It is the only opportunity in Utah to share the road with almost 1000 other cyclists at the same time.
The Little Red Riding Hood/Women's Metric Century (62 miles for the metrically challenged) will be held June 3. This is for women only (men provide the support). This is followed on August 19 by Utah's oldest century event, the Utah Lake Epic Century Ride, a complete loop around Utah Lake.
Finally, BBTC offers two multi-day, season-ending rides. First is the Southern Utah National Parks Tour, September 10-16. This fantastic fun ride guides you through Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Second is the White Rim Tour along the Colorado River for mountain bikes. Though specific dates have not been set, this event will take place in October.
BBTC deserves praise for its long-standing and continued support and promotion of cycling events. For more information on BBTC, connect to its website using the Resource Links at www.cyclingutah.com or call its hotline at (801)534-4451.
The latest excitement to take hold in our region is for tandem riding. One reason is obvious: As cycling devotees have matured and married, they have been able to pursue their dual passions through the equalizing effect of a tandem. The problem has often been this: How do you get your spouse out on a bike and still enjoy the sport together despite differing levels of fitness and strength? With a tandem, of course.
Welcome the Utah League of Tandem Riding Addicts (ULTRA). Until its organization by Mike and Heather Bucher, tandeming was pretty much a solo (or rather dual) affair. These two tandem missionaries, however, established ULTRA in 1997, and it has quickly developed a rather large congregation.
Mike and Heather have had to move on, but they left a healthy organization behind. Marcia and Joergen Pilz have taken over as club coordinators. ULTRA has one scheduled ride each month, with both "Hammer Ride Leaders" and "Social Leaders". Additionally, ULTRA will be organizing as a group to ride in the MS 150 in Cache Valley June 24-25 and the Colorado Tandem Rally in Vail, Colorado August 10-13.
By joining ULTRA (membership is free), you can get on their e-mail list which will keep you informed of club activities and pickup rides. If you have a tandem, there is no reason to not join and participate. It is a fun crowd.
ULTRA has its own website that can be accessed through the "Resource Links" at www.cyclingutah.com. At their website, you will find information on scheduled rides, a membership list, and other related tandem information.
For the road racing enthusiasts, there is plenty of opportunity this year to contest the flats and hills of our region. A review of the racing calendar discloses that, while there are few new events, a cadre of traditional favorites are still around.
Starting off the year is the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series held at the auto race course located at 2100 South and 6000 West, Salt Lake City, Utah. In March, races will take place every Saturday at 12 noon. Then, racing will continue every Tuesday at 6 p.m., April through September.
Series racing is a great way to develop one's skills in a less formal venue. A person can race from one to three times each week. The nice thing is that these races do not take an entire day, and the entry fees are low. For those who cannot afford the time, or the funds, to race every weekend, but still want their weekly fix of competition, series racing is the way to go. Make no mistake, however. These races are not a Sunday stroll. The racing is fast and furious.
In addition to the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series, there is the DMV Criterium Series. Though there was concern that this venue, the Division of Motor Vehicles driving course at 2750 South 4800 West, Salt Lake City, Utah, might not be available, the latest word is that the difficulties have been ironed out and the series will proceed as planned. A course with many fast turns and a short hill, it challenges and hones one's criterium skills. This series runs every Wednesday evening, April through September, with the "A" Group (USCF Categories 1-3) racing at 6 p.m., and the "B" Group (everyone else) going at 7 p.m.
Finally, the Saltair Time Trial Series will also run April through September. Commenc-ing April 13, this series will be held every other Thursday. The first racers start at 6 p.m. The seven-mile, out and back course is located at I-80 and 12000 West, Salt Lake City.
For the weekend warriors, Del Brown's popular Antelope Island Road Race kicks off the local season April 8. It is the first opportunity to test one's legs against the competition.
Brown's major event, and one of Utah's premier road events, the Chums Tour of Hurricane Stage Race, follows in three weeks April 29-30. Located near St. George, this is a major early season event, drawing hundreds of riders from around the West. Comprised of two road races and a time trial, this event packs a lot of racing into two days.
May 12-13 provides a weekend of criterium racing, with the E-Center Criterium being held Friday the 12th, and the Downtown Criterium occurring Saturday the 13th.
June is a stage racer's dream, with three stage races taking place. First is the Cache Classic Stage Race in Logan, Utah June 3-4. This is followed two weeks later, June 17-18, by the High Uintas Stage Race sponsored by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. This includes the challenging road race starting in Kamas, Utah, climbing over the 10,800' Bald Mountain Pass in the Uinta Mountains, and finishing in Evanston, Wyoming. Finally, the month wraps up with the Utah Summer Games in Cedar City, an omnium comprised of four stages, a road race, a hill climb time trial, a flat time trial and a criterium. You can race to your heart's content in June.
The Gate City Grind is a stage race scheduled in Pocatello, Idaho July 15-16. Idaho continues to be the place to be in July. The well-known and well-established First Security Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho takes place July 29 followed by a second Boise criterium, the Statehouse Criterium, July 30.
Racing begins to wrap up in August. The Utah State Road Race Championship is scheduled for Saturday, August 5, to be followed the next day, August 6, with the State Time Trial Championship. Details on these races have not yet been announced.
From there, the season winds up with the Eureka Road Race (Eureka, Utah) September 9 and the annual 203-mile race from Logan to Jackson, the Lotoja Classic, September 16.
This is a listing of the major events currently scheduled in the intermountain region. Check out each issue of cycling utah as well as www.cyclingutah.com for all other events currently scheduled, or which may subsequently be scheduled.