Beaver Creek Marathon designed to be an Ultra sampler
The Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Marathon this Sunday at 8 a.m. is a tasty, little appetizer.The main course comes Aug. 21, when the Ultra 100 returns to the valley. In the meantime however, Vail Recreation District and Beaver Creek officials thought a good palette primer would be in order for competitors gearing up for the race late in the summer.The marathon is also a good selling point for those wavering souls who are unsure of whether or not they can complete a full 100 miles. “It’s to help to show people that it isn’t that tough,” VRD sports/race director Mike Ortiz said. “It’s a way to convince people who don’t know what they’re getting into, that they can do something like the Ultra 100. The whole idea was to boost participation in the Ultra.”Local endurance and adventure-sports legend Mike Kloser, who works for Beaver Creek Resorts, said that the marathon’s course was specifically designed to highlight the best elements of the Ultra 100 course. The 50-mile course has only a smidgen of the Ultra’s grueling Muddy Pass section, before racers head back down June Creek Road to Singletree Park. The intent is to limit the suffering and build confidence. “It’s going to be half the suffering out there with half the distance,” Kloser said. “You take out the Muddy Pass climb and it’s a lot more forgiving. This is probably some of the most sections in the Ultra 100. It’s a great little sampler.” Approximately 50 miles long, the marathon begins at Singletree Park and heads up June Creek, goes across Red and White Road to Piney Road, back across Moniger Road to Muddy Pass and then back down June Creek to finish at Singletree park.A cut-off time of 3.5 hours will be implemented at the junction of Piney Road.Race categories include men’s and women’s Pro-Elite, Expert and Sport/Open. There will be a $1000-first-place, $500-second-place, and $250-third-place awards in the Pro Men’s and Women’s categories. All other categories will have prizes for the top three finishers.At the post-race barbecue at Singletree Park from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., racers can pick up prizes, awards, and enter in a raffle.With a $30 registration, or $35 if you register on race day, Ortiz believes the whole event is a great bargain.”The cool thing about it is that there’s the barbecue afterward,” Ortiz said. “For $30-$35, you get this course all set up with volunteers, aid stations set up with bottled water and Balance Bars and you get a barbecue. That’s pretty cheap.”The cash purse is also something that Ortiz and Kloser both believe should bring in some good pro talent from around the state.”It all depends on how much the word has gotten out,” Kloser said. “I know last week over in Summit (County) at the Firecracker 50, there were certainly some people from around the state. Hopefully we’ll get some of the Aspen and Summit County crowd as well as some people from the Front Range.”To pre-register, go to http://www.active.com or stop by the Vail Recreation District offices located at 700 S. Frontage Road East in Vail. The VRD Sports Department can be reached by calling 479-2280.