Vail gets new bike festival
VAIL — There’s going to be a new bike event in town this fall, and organizers hope it will become Vail’s signature mountain bike event.
The Vail Outlier Off-Road Festival debuts Sept. 25-27 and features a cross country mountain bike race, an enduro race, 2016 bike and gear demos, and live music.
“Vail is the best venue that doesn’t have a signature mountain bike event,” said organizer Mike McCormack. “There’s a general consensus that they deserve one. We’ve agreed with Vail Resorts and the town of Vail to create something that will be a mash-up of Outerbike (in Moab), Sea Otter Classic (California) and CrankWorx (Whistler).”
The event comes at a time that traditionally has signaled a slowing down in Vail’s event calendar. The town and McCormack hope that the Outlier festival will attract cyclists of all kinds for a fall weekend in the mountains.
“In the past, Vail has hosted successful biking events, the Pro Cycling Challenge and Triple Bypass among others,” said Barry Davis, chair of the Vail Commission on Special Events. “What sets this festival apart is its innovative approach. It provides an opportunity to host a unique bike event, which appeals to a wide demographic. The potential of this event is incredible based on the diversity it offers. Between bike demos and competitive races opportunities in 14 categories there is something for every mountain bike rider out there.”
Races, demos and more
Events will kick off with chances to demo next season’s bikes, which will just have debuted at Interbike nine days earlier. Races aim to draw the top pros in the region with a $25,000 prize purse. The Outlier XC race will boast a pro/elite course of 35 to 40 miles that will cover trails that have never been raced.
The final course is pending Forest Service approvals, but tentative plans have the race starting in Lionshead, heading up Mill Creek Road toward Two Elk and dropping into Vail’s Back Bowls.
“Imagine riding and seeing 360 degree mountain top views. This will be on courses that have never been raced. It’ll be audacious,” said McCormack, who has also been behind races such as the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge and the Firebird in Eagle.
The enduro race will have three stages, with downhill segments timed and lift-accessed climbs.
“It’s not a true downhill race, but Vail has great flowing terrain for an enduro course,” McCormack said.
Organizers expect 500 racers for the CX race, 300 for the enduro and 1,500 attendees for the demo days. Several major music acts, which have not been announced, are also expected to round out entertainment for the weekend.
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.