cycling utah March 1999
Road season is a model of consistency
By David R. Ward
One of the anticipations each winter is looking forward to reviewing events scheduled for the upcoming cycling season. For the road group, this year’s offering is very similar to the last couple of years, so riders can plan around those events which they have previously really enjoyed. This article will focus on some of the major road events currently scheduled. Some races are yet to be scheduled, and the details of others finalized. Keep an eye on cycling utah’s Calendar of Events and website (www.cyclingutah.com) for additional information and a complete schedule of road events.
For the racing scene, one of the most fun and challenging experiences is participating in a stage race. Utah offers two long-running and outstanding two-day stage races. The ninth annual staging of the Chums Classic will take place April 10-11 and features the Red Hills Mall Criterium with its fun and technical course.
Promoter Del Brown has added two new courses for 1999. The Quail Creek Road Race is a spectacular 27-mile loop near Zion National Park that features moderate climbing. And the Hurricane Time Trial is a flat 6-mile out-and-back course with a few twists thrown in to keep your head up. This all adds up to real fun in the sun.
The Utah Summer Games, a 3-day omnium, takes place in Cedar City June 10-12. With light participation from the north, this event has become a favorite with racers from southern Utah and a dedicated group of other participants who return year after year.
Scheduled for June 19-20 is the Eleventh Annual High Uintas Stage Race. This features an 80-mile road race ascending from Kamas, Utah to Bald Mountain Pass at an elevation of 10,700 feet, and then descending to Evanston, Utah. This is big-time racing in a small town.
Idaho features a long-standing stage race of its own. This is the Snake River Omnium in Nampa, held May 29-30. As with the Chums Classic and the High Uintas Stage Race, this consists of a road race, criterium and time trial. Also, a stage race is held in Pocatello July 10-11 which incorporates the Idaho District Road Race and Criterium Championships.
Utah and Idaho also feature some of the most exciting single day venues around. The action starts with a traditional favorite, racing among the buffalo and along the shores of the Great Salt Lake at the Antelope Island Circuit Race, west of Ogden Utah. Idaho’s spring leg-stretcher, the Slammer Road Race, is also March 28, and is held in Boise.
The Black’s Creek Road Race in Boise April 25, and the Emmett-Roubaix race May 2 in Emmett, are combined for a timed series, i.e., the lowest cumulative time wins. Other favorite Idaho events include the River Spirit Circuit Race, part of the River Festival, in Boise June 26, and the Bogus Basin Hill Climb, ascending from Boise to the Bogus Basin Ski Area September 18.
A classic and tradition in Idaho is the First Security Twilight Criterium in Boise July 31. This is an under-the-lights criterium drawing a large regional crowd seeking fast and exciting criterium racing. This is followed the very next day by a second criterium, the Idaho Statehouse Criterium, raced around the Idaho State Capitol building.
Additional favorites in Utah include the East Canyon Road Race May 1, the Cycle Salt Lake Downtown Criterium, another under-the-lights event, the Little Mountain Road Race on June 5 and the Cache Classic August 7, both in Logan, and the Eureka Road Race September 12 in Eureka.
The road race season finishes off with the torturous European-style classic LOTOJA, a 203-mile race from Logan, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming September 18. Test yourself at this event for a taste of what the pros go through several times a week.
Weekday races for training and those who cannot follow the weekend circuit are plentiful. The Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series runs weekly in Salt Lake, beginning in March and continuing through September. Races are on Saturday in March, and then move to Tuesday in April for the remainder of the season.
Beginning in April, a second weekly series, the DMV Criterium Series, will be run every Wednesday through September. Featuring numerous fast, tight turns and a short but killer climb, this series is excellent for honing your criterium skills.
Finally, the biweekly Saltair Time Trial Series will commence April 8, and will be run every other Thursday thereafter through September.
Not forgotten are the touring and recreational riders who most certainly outnumber the racers. Outside of Utah, and new on the scene last year, were the Yellowstone Spring and Fall Cycling Tours. Personal favorites of cycling utah, these two tours provide a unique experience for any cyclist.
(See sidebar on the Yellowstone Spring Cycling Tour ‘99).
The Fall Tour takes riders from West Yellowstone into Old Faithful and back. With new roads and light fall tourist traffic, this is a pleasant ride with plentiful wildlife, forest and geological wonders for your viewing pleasure. Riders have the option to shuttle either to or from Old Faithful.
Utah has been blessed with a strong recreational organization, the Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club (BBTC). BBTC is constantly organizing weekly rides. Call their hotline at 534-4451, or e-mail them ([email protected]) to get on their list.
In the way of major events, BBTC is offering up a traditional platter of favorites. On May 22, BBTC will organize, under the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee umbrella, the Cycle Salt Lake Century Ride. This will be the culminating event of the Cycle Salt Lake Week. Drawing Utah’s largest touring crowd, usually in excess of 1000 people, the route takes riders from Salt Lake out to Antelope Island and back, with plenty of good food and fun along the way.
June 12 brings BBTC’s all-women century ride, the Little Red Riding Hood in Logan. Following that, and coming on August 12, is the long-running ULCER (Utah Lake Century Epic Ride), with its 100-mile route around Utah Lake.
September 12-18 brings BBTC’s true epic, the Southern Utah National Parks Tour. There is more interesting riding and stark beauty crammed into this 7-day tour than can be found anywhere else. For those who want to take a week off to ride, this is the time to do it. Southern Utah is always beautiful, and this tour has the added benefit of fall colors.
There is more than enough to fill anyone’s schedule. Watch cycling utah for more information on these and other events.