VAIL, Colorado - Anyone driving the roads around Lake, Eagle and Summit counties these days has noticed the proliferation of mountian bikes forging their way through the winter snow as winter mountain biking has been embraced, not only by local commuters seeking a way to save gas, but by endurance enthusiasts looking for another option to stay in shape.Athletes from around the region will have the opportunity to ply their new passion this Saturday as the Pedal Power Snowshoe Series and Street Swell present their first mountain bike-only race. This special race takes place at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center starting at 10 a.m. and will consist of two race options. There will be a five to six-mile short course for novice and intermediate races and a 10-12-mile long course for those seeking a bit more challenge.According to race organizer Bruce Kelly, winter has come into its own. "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," Kelly said.He adds that the snow-bike legs of the winter triathalons quickly became the most popular part of the race.The next race on tap, Jan. 19, will be the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse State Snowshoe Championships, which also acts as the qualifying race for the United States Snowshoe Association National Championships. The final race of this year's schedule on Feb. 2 will be Arrowhead Alpine Club North American Winter Triathlon Championships.Title-sponsors for this year's series are 1st Bank, Gorsuch, Ltd., Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa and Dollar Rent-a-Car. Individual event sponsors include The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, Pazzo's Pizza, The Arrowhead Alpine Club, Street Swell and The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.Registration for this event is $20. Participants can save time by pre-registering 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. Registration is also possible for $25 on the day of the event at the race start. The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is located at the Ski Cooper Ski Area on Tennessee Pass just north of Leadville and south of Vail on Highway 24.For more information and detailed directions call Pedal Power at 970-845-0931.
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