Mountain-bikers tackle the Vail Grind tonight
VAIL — The Vail Recreation District’s Athletic Club at The Westin Mountain Bike Race Series continues today featuring the Vail Grind.
This year’s Vail Grind will unveil a new start and finish area, longer courses for all categories, plus new singletrack racing for the pro, expert and singlespeed categories.
Competitors will enjoy a variety of double and singletrack throughout the race featuring distances from 2.2 miles for younger riders to 14.8 miles for more experienced riders. This is the fourth race of the seven-race series, which is presented by the Athletic Club at The Westin, East West Resorts, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Summit Ford and The Dusty Boot.
Registration is $35. All races start and finish under Gondola One in Vail Village, just east of Mountain Plaza where the Berry Picker Trail ends.
The Larkburger Youth Series, for ages 8 to 17, begins at 4:45 p.m. Youth racers will compete on a 1.1-mile loop climbing Windisch Way, heading to the base of Golden Peak, racing by Race City and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, up to the skier tunnel, crossing Henry’s Hill by the top of Chair 12, toward Windisch Way, up Windisch to the Berry Picker Trail and taking Berry Picker to the finish. Ages 8 to 10 will ride two loops for 2.2 miles and ages 11 to 17 will ride four loops for a total of 4.4 miles.
Following the youth races, the Athletic Club at The Westin adult series will kick off at 5:45 p.m. with details as follows:
• Men’s sport begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by men’s vet sport at 5:46 p.m., men’s master sport, clydesdale and legends at 5:47 p.m. and women’s sport, vet sport and master’s sport at 5:48 p.m. These categories will race one sport loop for 9.5 miles and climb Windisch Way, merging onto Mill Creek Road, and onto Liondown/Post Road. From there, racers will climb Liondown to the Big Mamba singletrack entrance above Chair 8, descend down Big Mamba and Hanks Hideaway. At the bottom of Hank’s, racers will cross the service road and go to Blue Hanks, also known as Powerline, turn left, ride down Simba, onto Mountain Road, up Liondown to Mill Creek Road, turn right on Mill Creek for a short climb to Bailey’s singletrack and descend down Windisch to the Berry Picker Trail and onto to the finish.
• Men’s beginners and juniors will take off at 5:49 p.m., followed by women beginners at 5:50 p.m. and race a 5.5-mile loop that will follow the sport-category loop to Hank’s Hideway. Racers will descend onto Hank’s where they will also ride onto Blue Hanks, down Simba, onto Mountain Road, Liondown to Mill Creek Road to Bailey’s and down Windisch Way to the Berry Picker Trail and to the finish.
• Men’s pro, expert and vet expert will begin at 6 p.m., followed by men’s singlespeed and expert masters at 6:01 p.m., women’s pro and expert at 6:02 p.m. and women’s vet expert and singlespeed at 6:03 p.m. These categories will follow the sport-category loop for the first half of the climb. The pros, experts and singlespeeders will pass the sport cutoff and continue climbing up Liondown turning left onto Lucy’s and riding to Mid-Vail and onto Fred’s Lunch for a fast fun descent. At the end of Fred’s lunch, racers will turn left climbing up Cub’s Way to the Big Mamba intersection. They will then descend down Big Mamba to Hank’s Hideway and continue following the same course of the sport and beginner categories for a total of 14.8 miles.
The race will include an after party at the Altitude Bar and Grill in the Evergreen Lodge with a free keg of beer provided by 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. Venture Sports, the official bike shop of the Vail Grind, will be on site to provide neutral support for racers with last minute mechanical issues.
According to race director Beth Pappas, construction taking place on Vail Mountain required changes in this year’s Vail Grind, but it should be a great race for everyone.
“We’re excited to switch it up a bit for the Vail Grind,” Pappas said. “As always, with changes in the course there will be some learning and challenges, but we hope everyone has a blast, races safely and enjoys a true grind up Vail Mountain.”
For information on all other VRD programs and activities, visit http://www.vailrec.com or call 970-479-2279.