Friday, September 19, 2008

Mountain bike race added to Baldy Hill Climb

30th annual event is Sept. 27

There's an intriguing new wrinkle to the Baldy Hill Climb, which observes its 30th anniversary Saturday, Sept. 27. For the first time the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation community event will include a mountain bike race up Baldy.

Mountain bikers will take a mass start on Cold Springs Road above St. Luke's Hospital and tackle the Cold Springs perimeter trail starting at 9 a.m. Sept. 27. Bikers will either do the climb only (awards to the top 3 male/female riders) or, if ambitious, they'll do a Baldy Double.

Once they reach the top of Baldy, mountain bikers attempting the Baldy Double will download the Challenger chair and ride to the bottom of Warm Springs. There they will join with the Baldy Hill Climb racing class for the 11 a.m. start.

Meanwhile, at 10 a.m. the Hill Climb hiking class will start its 1.86-mile-course, 3,140-vertical-foot ascent from the Warm Springs ski run bridge—elevation 5,880 feet—to the top of Baldy—elevation 9,020 feet.

The hill climb racers and Baldy Double bikers will begin at 11 a.m. Course records are Michael Tobin 35:11 in 1989 and Morgan Arritola 41:34 in 2006. Last year, there were 131 participants—37 hikers and 94 racers. Winners were Miles Fink-Debray 36:31 and Arritola 41:40.

It's a change from the first event for 54 climbers in 1979.

Keep in mind there will be no downloading bikes on the Challenger Lift. That means the biking-only class will have to wait until all climbers complete the course before they can descend on the prescribed Warm Springs Trail.

There is also a Kinder Climb for kids 11-and-under (everyone gets a ribbon) starting at 9:30 a.m. at the base of Warm Springs. And it is free.

Pre-register until Friday, Sept. 26, at 5 p.m. at Sturtevants in Ketchum and Hailey, the Elephant's Perch and Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum, and at the SVSEF office located at the base of Warm Springs. There is no online entry this year.

Early entry fees (checks payable to SVSEF) are $25 adults, and $15 for 17-and-younger along with biking and Baldy Double classes. Participants get a T-shirt, rations at the summit aid station, the lift ride down (no bikes) and the awards party.

Race day registration ($30 adults, $20 17-and-younger) for the hike and run classes is from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the SVSEF office, Warm Springs. The mountain bike race day registration is from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the St. Luke's hospital parking lot. Be sure to park in the north end of the lot.

The awards party is from 12:30-2 p.m. at Apple's Bar & Grill, Warm Springs. Operation of Challenger lift, which will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is completely weather dependent

Baldy Hill Climb sponsors include Apple's, Sturtevants, Sun Valley Co., Perry's Restaurant, Elephant's Perch and Backwoods, Sun Summit, Durance Cycleworks, Lefty's Bar & Grill, Smith and Johnny G's Subshack.

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