VAIL, Colorado - With the crack of the starting gun on Saturday at 10 a.m., The Pedal Power Snowshoe Adventure Series begins another season of adventure racing to benefit local charities in Eagle and Lake counties.
Now in its its 16th year, the first race will begin and end at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center located at the Ski Cooper Ski Area at the top of Tennessee Pass. The course follows a blend of single-track, wooded cross-country trails and panoramic open stretches. While early season conditions are always in play, according to race director Bruce Kelly, the competition will go on in one form or another.
"As of now, the first race will proceed as a trail run over the traditional course," he said. "Throughout the history of the series, we've always had to address the vagaries of weather and this year is no different. Our staff is used to adapting to conditions to provide the best race experience possible."
The Pedal Power Snowshoe Series is the oldest established competitive snowshoe race series in the region as well as the only completely nonprofit event of its kind, with all proceeds from the popular race series benefiting local Eagle and Lake County charities. Past beneficiaries have included the Full Circle mentoring program for at-risk youth, high school athletic scholarship programs and individual families in need of medical and educational assistance.
The series consists of five events held around the region, including the Colorado State Championship, which also acts as the qualifying race for the United States Snowshoe Association National Championships. These high-profile races, along with Pedal Power's reputation for providing great course venues and the high caliber of competition, have made the Pedal Power Snowshoe Adventure Series one of the top events in the region.
This year's schedule will again feature the increasingly popular "winter triathalon," which includes snowshoeing, snow biking and skate skiing. This event, which closes out the series, will act as the sanctioned North American Winter Triathlon Championships.
New this year, the series will be a winter mountain bike race. This race will feature both a beginners course at five to six miles and an expert course that will test racers' mettle with 10-12 miles of grueling snow-covered terrain.
Kelly's enthusiasm for this new aspect of the series is apparent.
"Winter biking has become a huge part of our business over the last few years as equipment manufacturers have recognized its growing popularity by providing snow-specific designs and features on their bikes and tires to accommodate riders," he said.
He adds that the snow-bike legs of the winter triathalons quickly became the most popular part of the race.
Registration for the first event is $20. This year, for the first time, participants can pre-register directly online at pedalpowerbike.com. They can also register with forms from Pedal Power Bicycle Shop in Eagle-Vail or by calling 970-845-0931. Participants may also register ($25) on the day of the event at the race start. For more information call Pedal Power at 970-845-0931.