By Dave Iltis
The Intermountain Cup is one of the longest running mountain bike race series in the country. It was started by Ed Chauner in 1991 and has been run consecutively since then. This year is the 25th anniversary year of the series and it looks like big things to come. Ed Chauner has moved on to travel the world as a mountain guide to places like Everest, Macho Picchu, and more. Now long time racer Bryson Perry and Kelly Peterson start their first full season as owners of the series and are looking forward to an amazing season of racing.
We caught up with new series partner Bryson Perry and asked him about some of the new developments in the I-Cup series.
Cycling Utah: Tell us a little about the history of the series? When did it start? When did you first race in it?
B.P.: Yeah the I-CUP series is one of the longest standing series in the country actually. Back at the start it was called the Cannondale cup. The first series was in 1991 and in 1994 I did my first race in the series at Deer Valley. Needless to say I got worked but I had a ton of fun and was hooked from then on.
CU: Tell us about the people behind the series today.
B.P.: Today Kelly Peterson and I are the new owners of the series. We are extremely passionate about the series and the cycling culture and helping to make it a better, bigger series. In addition to Kelly, I also have a couple great partners in Glen Ames as well as Ryan Gurr from Red Rock bicycles in St George. They help us in several of our races held in the St George and Cedar City.
CU: Tell us about what you have planned for the series in 2015 in terms of the cross country and the endurance cross country series?
B.P.: With this year being the 25th anniversary it makes sense to have things get a little bigger. The I-Cup series has now combined with the Utah State Championship series and now we actually have 2 series within the I-Cup series. We have an EXC series (endurance XC), consisting of 4 events this year with new races in Moab, Draper, Heber and Brian Head. These races will generally be 2 laps on a 20-25 mile course. There will also be a half distance race and juniors race at each of these EXC races for certain categories. We are so excited to be heading back to these venues again. It has been a long time since the I-Cup series has been to both Moab and Brian Head — there is some amazing riding to be had there.
We also have an awesome XC series (cross country) consisting of 9 great venues on the schedule for 2015. We have decided to take away a few of the races that have been around for a long time and we plan to switch things up a little bit each year so that it can be fresh each year. With great venues like 2 races in the Green Valley St. George area, Soldier Hollow, Three Peaks in Cedar City, Deer Valley, Sundance, Snowbird, Solitude and the Finals in Draper just before the start of the high school season, it will be a fun year. We also plan to incorporate some cool features like A and B lines (harder and easier obstacles) in as many courses as we can.
CU: The I-Cup has some innovative ideas around helping juniors to race. Can you tell us about this program?
B.P.: Yeah we are really excited about our junior racers. I personally have 3 kids racing and I think it is very important that we help develop the new riders coming into our sport. Ed Chauner did so much to help develop the racing here in Utah and we have had a great group of racers here in Utah because of his hard work. Now we also have people like Lori and Dave Harward who are working hard to bring cycling to our high school kids and get them to try it out.
We also want to continue to develop riders and racers here in Utah so last year we started the I-Cup Junior Devo program. In this program we take a portion of our entry fees and give it back to our junior riders. All junior riders racing age 13-18 are included in the program. In the program, $3 from each adult registration and junior registration will go to the fund and will be divided against the total number of junior riders and distributed on site to the racers there after the race. This is just our way of giving back to the community and helping the junior ridership to grow and to develop. With all of these kids getting interested through the great program that the NICA high school league has provided, we want to help them stay involved in the sport leading up to their high school season. This is kind of like the club team for these high school riders and just like the high school league the junior riders can join a team and race and earn points individually and for a team.
CU: You are planning some new options for female mountain bike racers. Can you tell us more?
B.P.: Yes, This year we have also added a few additional women’s categories to make it hopefully a little easier for women to get involved. We want and need more women to participate in this sport. The women already here are fantastic ambassadors for the sport but we need more. Cycling is a great way to stay fit throughout your life and the races provide a great opportunity for riders to really set goals and measure their improvement. We want to make the series a place where women can come and give it a try without feeling any pressure to perform and can just go have fun, push themselves and reach their personal goals.
CU: What new things will you be planning at each event?
B.P.: There are a ton of new things at the races this year in addition to just the new venues. This year we will have Angie Harker from Select Vision at each race taking awesome race photos of all the racers. After the race you will be able to get free low res downloads of your race photos as well as being able to purchase a high res download for only $5 right from the I-Cup site.
We will also be having some cool raffles at all the races. The huffy bike toss will be a feature at many events, Announcers, great prizes, some food and drinks at the finish line, awesome medals, bonfires at a few races and a whole new vibe in general. The gist of it all, we want you to come, camp at the races, hang out and have fun with your old buddies or make new ones as you enjoy cycling.
CU: The I-Cup has always had a strong team points competition. Can you tell us what is new?
B.P.: Yeah the team competition is a little different this year and will make for a tighter race for sure. After every race, the points of the top 12 points earners from each registered team will be awarded to the team’s point total. The team must be REGISTERED with I-CUP in order to receive points and the rider must select their team at registration for points to be counted. Team managers go register your teams now! A rider who changes teams during the season cannot take their points with them to their new team but can start to earn points for their new team, once they register under the new team name. A team can be created and register at any point in the season but points will not be retroactively added to the team points total.
Volunteer Points will also be awarded to teams standings. We want and need your help to make this a great series, so for each volunteer your team provides at a race, 30 additional points will be added to the team total. To be considered an official volunteer you must check in with me prior to registration, ideally a few days before so that I can create a specific assignment. All Volunteers will be given a cool I-Cup item as well.
Volunteers at I -Cup sponsored trail work events will also earn 30 points towards their team as well as Individual points for the series of their choice.
CU: Is there anything else you would like to add?
B.P.: We just want to say thank you to all those who have been so supportive of us in our new role as owners of the series. Ed Chauner grew this series for more than 20 years and now we look forward to helping it grow and develop even more. I have been a part of the series for the majority of my life and it is so cool that I now get to help give back to the racing community. There has been an amazing support and we know that without you as racers we would not have a series at all so thank you for coming out and supporting the series. We hope to see you out at the races!