Regional fat tire racing season underway |

Regional fat tire racing season underway

Richard Chittick
Daily file photo The pro and expert men begin their race last summer at the Mountain States Cup cross country finals in Keystone. Vail's Jay Henry (far left) won the event.

Despite the lingering clouds and unpredictable weather that has hovered over Summit County since Wednesday, the central Rocky Mountain region’s premier racing series is officially underway.

The fifth annual Mountain States Cup (MSC) series begins today with the Tour of the Canyonlands cross country race held in Moab, Utah. The event kicks off a 10-event series that is spread across Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, and lasts well into September.

According to MSC spokesperson Jim Allington, the series features three new venues for 2004 – Telluride, Eldora and a new season-ending championship weekend at Monarch Pass.

Meanwhile, the traditional Moab season opener is joined by six other classic venues in Nathrop, Denver, Angle Fire, N.M., Crested Butte, Snowmass and Summit County.

The Chalk Creek Stampede in Nathrop will challenge mountain bikers next in the series, May 8-9, featuring a cross country race and a mountaincross race. Mountaincross is a growing discipline where four riders compete head-to-head down a technical course filled with berms and jumps.

The Chalk Creek mountaincross will mark the start of the gravity season after the traditional season opener, the Tour of the Canyonlands downhill, was canceled due to insurance reasons, Allington said.

From there, each of the events will feature weekend-long festivals with a cross country race and at least one gravity event (downhill, mountaincross or dualcross).

The MSC gravity schedule features 12 races spread across the last nine events in the series. After the Chalk Creek Stampede, the series continues with the Battle at the Bear, one of four events in the Mountain States Cup promoted by Summit County mountain biker Thane Wright of Keystone.

The Battle at the Bear occurs May 22-23 and includes a cross country race and the series’ only dualcross. The dualcross is a two-person version of mountaincross.

While the cross country race will be held in Bear Creek Lake Park near Morrison, the dualcross will be held in the community of Lawson just west of Idaho Springs.

“This particular course is a cross between downhill and mountaincross in Silver Creek Mountain Bike Park,” Wright said. “Last year was the first year I put on a dualcross and it was very well received. Racers left that race and there was a definite buzz in the air.”

Wright also promotes the inaugural Eldora Escape, one of the three new MSC events in 2004.

Eldora Ski Resort west of Boulder near Nederland will host the event, and marks the first addition of a Front Range venue to the series since the Battle of the Bear was created.

“It’s going to be a big party there with camping, and a big expo,” Wright said. “The whole community of Nederland is getting behind it.”

Wright also promotes the Snake River Mountain Challenge, a Labor Day weekend affair traditionally held on the trails of Dercum Mountain at Keystone.

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

2004 Mountain States Cup

Race Schedule

April 25, Tour of the Canyonlands, Moab, Utah

Cross country only

(303) 432-1519,

May 8-9, Chalk Creek Stampede, Nathrop

Cross country, mountaincross

(719) 221-1251,

May 22-23, Battle at the Bear, Denver

Crosscountry, dualcross

(970) 468-9322,

June 5-6, The Chile Challenge, Angel Fire, N.M.

Cross country, mountaincross, downhill

(303) 432-1519,

June 26-27, Wildflower Rush, Crested Butte

Cross country, downhill

(970) 468-9322,

July 10-11, Blast the Mass, Snowmass

Cross country, downhill

(303) 432-1519,

July 24-25, Full Tilt in Telluride, Telluride

Cross country, downhill

(303) 432-1519,

Aug. 14-15, Eldora Escape, Nederland

Cross country, downhill

(970) 468-9322,

Sept. 4-5, Snake River Mountain Challenge, Summit County

Cross country, downhill or mountaincross

(970) 468-9322,

Sept. 18-19, Monarch Mountain Bike Extravaganza, Monarch

Cross country, downhill

(719) 221-1251,

More information on the series can also be found by calling Jim Allington at 303.898.1887, or by visiting

Support Local Journalism