By Dave Iltis
June 26, 2015 – The Capitol Reef Classic is a two-day, three-stage stage race that will be held in Torrey, Utah on July 17-18, 2015. The CRC is annual event since 2008, and is back this year as a stage race, one of only a handful in Utah.
We caught up with race organizers Scott and Tina Andersen for a preview of this year’s event.
Cycling Utah: Tell us about the race. What are the three stages?
Capitol Reef Classic: Friday morning, beginning at 9:30am the 1st stage will commence, a Circuit Race; 1 lap will be 17 miles, involving a KOM/QOM for all categories. Friday afternoon evening the 2nd stage will be the Individual Time Trial; an 8 mile course for junior categories, and a 12 mile course for all other categories. Saturday morning the 3rd and final stage will begin at 8:00am, the Road Race.
CU: What makes it unique?
CRC: This stage race takes place at an elevation of 7000 feet and higher. The road race on Saturday has a section that will be sustained above 9500 feet in the Fishlake Basin for almost 20 miles. The temperatures are normally 15-20 degrees cooler than the Wasatch Front. Most other stage races involve a criterium… the circuit race makes this a unique event. The Friday/Saturday race days allows Sunday to be a travel day, recovery day so that the athletes will return to their work week on Monday, fresh, with great experiences to draw from.
CU: How is the scenery?
CRC: Wayne County/ south central Utah is one of the state’s best kept secrets. The ‘upper’ county is home 7 small towns all within 5-8 miles of each other. Wayne Co. doesn’t have a single traffic light and has a population of approximately 2500 people. Torrey is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park. We are surrounded by three large mountains; Boulder Mtn., Thousand Lake Mtn., and Fishlake Mtn./Basin all of which are approximately 11,500 feet inn elevation. The scenery is very eclectic; from red, slick rock, to high alpine meadows.
CU: The CRC is back to a stage race this year. Do you hope to draw riders from out of state?
CRC: We have had athletes from all of the Intermountain states as well as from back east. Individuals and teams from Nevada, Idaho, Arizona California, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming have been in contact with us and expect some great competition.
CU: Tell us about the move to run it as a stage race.
CRC: Last year we hosted the UCA state category championship… the racers were not disappointed. We had originally planned for the stage race for 2014, but we were asked to promote the Utah State Championship by the UCA.
CU: Do riders have to finish each stage to progress to the next one?
CRC: Unlike an ‘omnium’ format where racers can pick and choose which event they can participate in, a Stage Race requires that each stage be completed before being allowed to progress to the next stage. Not unlike the Tour de France.
CU: Where can people stay in Torrey?
CRC: There are many amazingly affordable hotels, cabins, and Bed and Breakfast establishments available not only in Torrey, but in other of the small towns in Wayne County. On our home page on our website www.capitolreefclassic.bike there is a ‘Hotels/Lodging’ tab that has a complete list, including preferred establishments.
CU: Is there a preferred list of motels? Is there camping nearby?
CRC: There are several campgrounds available as well, in close proximity. If the racers will CALL the hotels directly and tell them that you are with the race, you will get a better room rate. Also, the hotels have reserved and blocked out rooms for the CRC. DO NOT book online, you find that there are no rooms available online.
CU: If people decide to stay after the race, what are the main nearby attractions and site-seeing opportunities for riders and their families?
CRC: Of course, our event namesake Capitol Reef National Park is just minutes down SR-24. If you want to go further, Lake Powell is about an hour and a half away. Boulder Mountain is the largest, highest plateau in North America; 50,000+ acres at over 11,500 feet. The Boulder top has many lakes stocked with incredible trout. The racers experienced the Fishlake Basin as part of the Road Race, but it is quite a tourist attraction with boat and cabin rentals. The lake trout in Fishlake are upwards of 25 pounds and larger.
CU: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
CRC: Thousands of cyclists travel, tour, and race through this area, because of the unique scenery, the tourist attractions, and the paved roads less traveled.
Event Details: July 17-18 — Capitol Reef Classic, UCA Series, Torrey, UT, Two days, three stages. Friday circuit race and ITT, Saturday road race. Must complete the first stage to continue on to the next. Distances determined by racer's category, Tina Andersen, 435-691-3338, 435-691-1696, [email protected], Scott Andersen, [email protected], www.capitolreefclassic.bike