Mountain bike series kicks off Wednesday
VAIL — The Vail Recreation District’s Athletic Club at the Westin Mountain Bike Race Series will kick off its summer season of racing Wednesday featuring the Eagle Ranch Classic. During the race, riders will enjoy a variety of double and single track with distances ranging from 3.5 miles for younger riders to 12.6 miles for more experienced riders. This is the first race of the seven race series, which is presented by Athletic Club at the Westin, East West Resorts, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Summit Ford and The Dusty Boot.
Individual race costs are $25 for preregistration or $35 on race-day. Registration is available by going to http://www.vailrec.com/sports/mountain-bike-racing/mtb-race-series. Preregistration for individual races ends at 5 p.m. tomorrow and day-of registration will end at 6:30 p.m.
All races will start the Arroyo Dr. Parking Lot just off of 4th of July Road in Eagle Ranch. The races will begin at 4:45 p.m. with the Larkburger Youth Series for riders ages eight to 17. Youth racers will compete on the 3.5 mile traditional Eagle Ranch Classic Short Loop. The Athletic Club at the Westin adult series will kickoff at 5:45 p.m. with details as follows:
Men’s Pro, Expert and Vet Expert will begin at 5:45 p.m., followed by Women’s Pro and Expert at 5:46 p.m., Men’s Single Speed and Master Experts at 5:47 p.m. and Women’s Vet Expert and Single Speed at 5:48 p.m. These categories will start with the Short Loop, followed by a Bailey Loop ridden clockwise and finally, a Wall/Riddle Loop which combines the Short Loop with the Wall and Riddle singletrack trails in a figure-eight formation for a 12.6 mile race.
Men’s Sport will begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by Men’s Vet Sport at 6:46 p.m., Men’s Master Sport, Clydesdale and Grand Masters at 6:47 p.m. and Women’s Sport, Vet Sport and Master’s Sport at 6:48 p.m. These categories will race the Short Loop and climb back up the Jeep Road/Hardscrabble Connector to the Wall/Riddle loop for a 10.7 mile course.
Men’s Beginners and Juniors will take off at 6:49 p.m., followed by Women Beginners at 6:50 p.m. and race two laps on the traditional Eagle Ranch Classic Short Loop course for seven miles.
Men’s and Women’s Never Ever categories will start at 6:51 p.m. and race one Short Loop for 3.5 miles.
The race will include an after party at The Dusty Boot in Eagle Ranch with a free keg of beer provided New Belgium Brewery. Prizes also will be presented after the race to the top three finishers of each category, as well as a raffle prize drawing featuring products from race sponsors, area merchants and national companies. Mountain Pedaler, the official bike shop of the Eagle Ranch Classic, will be onsite to provide neutral support for racers with last minute mechanical issues. The race series will continue June 10 featuring the Berry Creek Bash in Edwards. Following the “Bash,” competition will return to Eagle for the second annual Battle at Bellyache. The series then will take racers back to Vail on July 8 for the Vail Grind and the new Son of Middle Creek Circuit Race on July 22. Kids will race on July 29 in Eagle for the new kids’ only Boneyard Brawl. On Aug. 12 racers will compete during the Davos Dash and end the season on Aug. 26 during the Beaver Creek Blast.
In addition to the Athletic Club at the Westin, East West Resorts, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Summit Ford and The Dusty Boot, sponsors of the 2015 race series include Vail Valley Medical Center, Town of Eagle, The Steadman Phlippon Research Institute, The Steadman Clinic, Central Rockies Mortgage, Vail, Beaver Creek, Apex Dental, New Belgium Brewing Company, POC, Avon Liquor, Optic Nerve, Outdoor Tech, Yellowbelly, Honeystinger, Venture Sports, The Kind Bikes and Skis, Mountain Pedaler, Pedal Power and KZYR 97.7. The 2015 Youth Series is presented by Larkburger and KidSPORT.
Registration, course information and start times are available by visiting http://www.vailrec.com/sports/mountain-bike-racing/mtb-race-series or calling 970-479-2280. For information on all other VRD programs and activities, visit http://www.vailrec.com or call 970-479-2279.
Organizer Rob Simon: It’s such a steep and notorious climb, you’re hitting grades of up to 14 percent, so that’s going to be an intense climb that’s going to …