cycling utah March 1999


New races and courses await the mountain crowd

By Robert L. Truelsen


Spring officially rings in the mountain bike racing season as racers are drawn to the deserts of Utah and Nevada. Good thing because the mountains are still playing host to the ski bunnies from Texas.

Thereís no better time than March and April to get your wheels rolling into the harsh desert. Forget it in June, July and August, the mountains will be hot enough.

The Intermountain Cup Mountain Bike Race Series returns with a new race and several new courses for 1999. The Wild Rockies series in Idaho survived a tough 1998 and continues in a more austere format, renamed appropriately The Wild Rockies Unplugged series.

The Red Rock Desert Rampage gets the season underway in St. George March 6. The weather may still be iffy along the Wasatch Front but odds are that Utahís Dixie is genuinely Spring-like. So donít make your decision by looking out the window of your Salt Lake City home.

Vegas returns to the Cup series on April 10 and is joined the following week by a new entry into the series, the Tour de Mesquite.

The Star Casino Hotel in Mesquite requested an event for 1999 and Chauner Promotions obliged. The race starts in the hotel parking lot and races through town along paved city streets. Racers will get a taste of road racing tactics with 6 miles of paved racing. But once off the pavement, single track greets those who prefer knobby tires for a 5-mile loop. Racers then return to town for the finish back at the hotel parking lot.

The hotel proved to be an accommodating host by offering rooms to racers for the bargain price of $25.

Another new course with a city start is the South Beach Boogie June 5 sponsored by the Tooele Chamber of Commerce. The race coincides with the Tooele Arts Fair and starts in the same park set aside for the fair. Racers will get a police escort on pavement to the single track leading to Settlement Canyon. The 3-leaf clover shaped course is run primarily on horse-created single track which guarantees a wild ride. The race will finish out on the course and not in town.

Another new course that is sure to please Cup participants is the new Teton Village course in Jackson, Wyo. July 31. The Taming the Tetons race will be a multiple lap race of small 5-mile loops around the base of the tram. Lots of single track and fast descents await racers. This course should prove a welcome relief from the 3-hour plus marathons of the Snow King races of the past.

Other races returning for the 1999 season are Bike Board and Blades Showdown at 5-Mile Pass, the Zion BBQ Bike Festival May 8, Chris Allaire Memorial at Solitude June 26, The Mountain Bout at Snowbird, The Brian Header, Canyon Bicycles Draper Dash and the regional finals Wolverine Ridge XC at Evanston, Wyo.

Spin Cycle is having a unique trial promotion this year. If you buy a new bike from them you get a voucher good for entry into an Intermountain Cup race.

Other promotions involving the Intermountain Cup is a $5 discount for first-time racers. Racers introducing first-timers to the Cup series also will receive a $5 discount. If you sign up for four or more races in the Cup series, you receive a $2 discount off each race.

New for 1999 is the team competition. A team can have as many members as they want. A team gains points for the top two riders in the top 15. Points are earned in all categories so itís an advantage to have team members in as many categories as possible. There will be a travelling Intermountain Cup trophy that teams will keep for a year, as well as bragging rights.

The National Championship Series (NCS) returns to Deer Valley for the sixth race in that series July 22-25. Itís not just for the pros either. All classes join in the fun at the truly international courses at Deer Valley.

The Deer Valley Rally hosts the Utah State Mountain Bike Championships Sept. 4-6 and determines champions in cross country, downhill, dual slalom and Super D.

Extreme endurance fanatics can test their fitness first at the Brian Head 12 Hours Sept. 11-12 and then again Oct. 9-10 at the 5th Annual 24 Hours of Moab.

Utahís racing season comes to an official close with the Red Rock Fall Rampage Oct. 30-31 with the AMBC Western Circuit Finals in St. George.

The Wild Rockies Unplugged series gets started with the Barking Spider April 11 in Nampa, Id. The Wild Rockies returns to the Wendover area with the Bordertown May 22-23 with its downhill, dual slalom and cross country format. Bordertown is also the Nevada State Championships.

Lehman Hot Springs in Oregon hosts the 24 Hours of Blues June 1920. The 24-hour bug spreads to Idaho and beyond.

The Idaho State Championships take place in McCall Aug. 11-12 with cross country, downhill and dual slalom disciplines contested.

Other races in the series include the Excellent Adventure June 5-6 in Idaho City, Galena Grinder July 4 in Sun Valley, Bogus Bomber July 31-Aug. 1 in Boise, Whiteknob Challenge Aug. 7 in Mackay and Revenge Aug. 21 in Twin Falls.

Weekly series racing returns Tuesday, April 6 when the Canyon Park Mountain Bike Series resumes. The series continues through August. The Decker Dash Urban Mountain Bike Race Series get started at the DMV in West Valley on Tuesday, April 27 and continues weekly for nine weeks through June 22.

For those wishing to look beyond the trail in front of you will enjoy popular tours that keep coming back.

The Antelope Island/Buffalo Bike Ride gets the leisure riding started April 17. Leisure of course if a relative term. The island has plenty of challenges to offer mountain bike riders.

The Wild Hare Thin Air Fat Tire Festival attracts riders to Torrey June 11-13. Boulder Mountain and Capital Reef National Park offer plenty of riding opportunities.

The Brian Head Bash returns Aug. 21-22 to challenge riders at 10,000 feet. Brian Head offers some of the longest downhill runs of any area in the state. And there isnít a better place to be in August than Brian Head.

The Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club offers limited participation in its annual White Rim Tour Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Access is limited by the National Park Service to control user impact of the fragile desert.

Wrapping up the tour season is the famous Canyonlands Fat Tire Festival in Moab Oct. 12-16. You can go to Moab just to ride but the festival offers so much more. Itís an experience.

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