The big week of the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival is here, and the 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships are about to begin on Baldy.
Some of the best mountain bike racers in the world are in Sun Valley, poised and waiting for the starting gun of the challenging courses on Baldy.
At stake are Stars-and-Stripes jerseys for the winners and the prestige that comes with being a national champion. Sun Valley is hosting the nationals for the first time in 23 years—and the field is growing.
Pedal Power is in full bloom in the central Idaho hills.
Sun Valley Marketing Alliance general manager Greg Randolph said Monday that the field of individual entrants has grown to over 900. And he predicts that number will increase as late registrants sign up.
“It’s going to be a great event,” said Randolph, himself a professional mountain biker and member of the U.S. Olympic road cycling team at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
This year’s cross-country endurance nationals at Sun Valley are being held separately from the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships scheduled for Sept. 23-25 at Beech Mountain, N.C.
For the first time, USA Cycling has separated its mountain bike national championships into two distinct events: cross-country and gravity.
Here, in Sun Valley, mountain bikers across various age groups will compete for national titles in cross-country, short track cross-country and Super Downhill, in the same venue as the country’s top professionals.
Randolph said the field of over 900 racers due here this week is even more impressive because last year’s combined endurance/gravity nationals at Granby, Colo. had 750 racers—well less than this year’s field for only the endurance.
The top Americans are due.
Reigning national champion and local hero Georgia Gould (Ketchum, Idaho/Fort Collins, Colo./Luna) will be on a mission to defend her Stars-and-Stripes in front of a hometown crowd in Saturday’s pro women’s cross-country race.
Fresh off his own hometown performance at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Windham, N.Y., Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized) will look to continue his momentum after 2010 saw him become the first-ever pro to win national titles in both mountain bike cross-country, short track and cyclo-cross.
And America’s best will be back next July at Sun Valley for an encore performance of the cross-country, short track cross-country, single speed and super downhill disciplines that make up 2011 USA Cycling nationals.
“We’re building a foundation for an event to continue by offering a little something for everyone and showcasing our area. We’re all stakeholders, and we’ll be rolling out the welcome mat,” said Randolph.
Sun Valley is an ideal place for the sport’s showcase event.
Check the advertisement on page B-2 for a complete listing of Ride Sun Valley events.
Local Stoker rides, Pump Track
finals on the menu
There is something for just about everyone at this week’s Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival.
Smith Optics is presenting its Local Stoker Trail Rides today, Wednesday through Saturday, July 16. The free rides led by local experts will leave each morning from the Sun ValleyVisitorCenter—official headquarters of the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival.
Strenuous, challenging and rewarding, the Local Stoker rides are designed for experienced riders who want to learn a more about the excellent trails in the Sun Valley area. Riders should be fit, ready to ride and game for a good time. Bring your own food, water and spare/repair equipment.
Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For many of the rides, shuttles are available to and from the sites. Visit ridesunvalley.com or stop by the VisitorCenter for sign up.
Today, Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.: The 11-mile Red Warrior-Greenhorn Gulch ride.
Thursday, July 14 at 8:30 a.m.: The 15-mile, three-and-a-half hour Baker Creek “Edge of the World” ride.
Friday, July 15 at 9 a.m.: The 16-mile Cold Springs/Warm Springs ride followed by a barbecue at Apple’s Bar & Grill.
Saturday, July 16 at 9 a.m., two rides: The 11-mile Easley Hot Springs ride for two hours, and the 22-mile Fox Peak/East Fork Baker Creek ride for four-and-a-half super awesome hours.
Meanwhile, the second annual Idaho Pump Track State Championships are Saturday, July 16 at 6 p.m. at KetchumBikePark near AtkinsonPark in downtown Ketchum. It is one of the country’s premier public pump track facilities.
The fun, family event with racing for kids and adults will feature a festive atmosphere with food and music. Racing classes are Open/Pro, 13-and-under, 9-and-under and 4-and-under Mini Racing. Register Saturday at 6 p.m. The Mini Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Let the racing and the backcountry touring begin!
News bites from Ride Sun Valley
Purse of Fat Tire Criterium exceeds $7,500, biggest in U.S.
Downtown friendly and certain to delight hundreds of fans, the Ride Sun Valley Fat Tire Criterium Thursday, July 14 from 6-9 p.m. will have over $7,500 in cash up for grabs. It is being touted as the richest fat tire criterium in the country.
Music, beer, food, and some of the best mountain bike pros in the U.S. will all be on tap. Bikers will compete on the short, tight course in downtown Ketchum. Starting in front of the Ketchum Town Square Plaza on Sun Valley Road, riders will rip around a two-block course jumping curbs, rallying through tight corners and sprinting for cash primes through the night. Be sure to catch a number of your local celebrities as they compete in the four-person relay. One mountain bike, four people and some interesting hand offs, make for some great entertainment. Sun Valley Brewing hosts the beer garden and a number of restaurants will have curbside concessions.
As a bonus, the Thursday night concert series will play before and after the event to keep the crowd energized. Here’s the schedule: At 6 p.m., the Locals’ Team Race; at 6:30 p.m., the Cat. 1/2 Women; at 7 p.m., Cat. 1/2 Men; at 7:30 p.m., Pro Women; and at 8 p.m. Pro Men. Registration opens Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Ketchum Town Square and closes 30 minutes prior to the starting time for each category.
Find Sun Valley’s best trails on new Web site
Greg Martin, Wood River Valley Trails Coordinator for the Hailey-based Blaine County Recreation District, has announced a valuable new Web site for trail users including mountain bikers. The Web site is launching for the first time this week to mark the arrival of the USA Cycling Mountain Bike XC National Championships.
Martin said, “The Sun Valley Region is home to one of the most extensive summer trail networks in the U.S. Through partnership with the SawtoothNational Forest, the Bureau of Land Management and various local trail groups, the Blaine County Recreation District seeks to meet the community’s need for real-time trails information in one Web-based trails portal.
“The BCRD Summer Trails & Pathways Portal can be directly located at trails.bcrd.org. It offers a unique blend of detailed trail descriptions, a community trails blog, dynamic Google-based topographic maps, Google Earth trail “flyovers”, available trail GPS files, and extensive trail photography and video. Users can share feedback or even their favorite photographs or content.”
TIVO alert for FIFA Women’s World Cup
Think Ride Sun Valley is cool? Well, the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament officially became cool Sunday when the U.S. women miraculously eliminated Brazil 2-2 (5-3 penalty kicks) to advance to the semi-finals in Germany.
So, if the U.S. beats France today, Wednesday in one semi-final, the Yanks advance to the championship game Sunday, July 17 at 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time—smack dab in the middle of Sunday’s Short Track Cross Country National Championships at River Run, and right after Sunday’s Super Downhill nationals in the morning. Get ready to record and stay out of earshot if you’re picky about those things.
Ride Sun Valley offers amazing Expo Experience
Want to sample the newest in gear and merchandise? Take time to browse this week at the Ride Sun Valley Expo area set up in the Lower River Run parking lot at the base of BaldMountain.
Team trucks with their fleets of bikes, mechanics and of course, star riders, will be set up next to a variety of vendors offering a spectrum of new products, local wares, and other things of interest to offer a up close and first hand look at the world of professional racing to all spectators.
The Expo will be in operation each day this week. Leading manufacturers like Scott Sports, Shimano American, SRAM/Rockshox and The North Face will be sitting alongside the professional teams of Specialized, Trek-Subaru, and Giant Rabobank. Local frame builders Alliance and Castle Frame Works will be showing their handmade bike craftsmanship and will be joined by a bevy of other vendors of interest to the bike crowd. The Expo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free of charge for spectators.
Shimano Kids’ Races are new for Friday at River Run
Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival organizers on Monday announced a new event, free of charge and just for children ages 12-and-under. Sponsored by Shimano, kids’ mountain bike races will take place Friday, July 15 starting at 6:30 p.m. near River Run Plaza on a portion of the National Championship Short Track XC course located at River Run. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. Age categories include 4-and-under, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12.
More Idaho mountain bike races are on deck
For certain, mountain bikers watching and competing in Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival will want to know where they can ride next. Fortunately the Sun Valley area has one of its most popular competitions coming up—the Galena Grinder/Whit Henry Memorial Saturday, July 23 at Galena Lodge 23 miles north of Ketchum. Visit knobbytireseries.com for more details.
And the 2011 Wild Rockies racing series has some of its marquee events on the horizon—the Pomerelle Pounder downhill July 30-31 near Burley, the State Championship Downhill and Super D Aug. 6-7 at Brundage Mountain near McCall; the Jug Mountain Short Track XC, Kids’ Ride and Mountain Bike Festival weekend Aug. 13 at McCall. Visit wildrockiesracing.com.
“Race Across the Sky” movie showing is Saturday night
Sun Valley professional mountain biker Rebecca Rusch is bringing the epic “Race Across the Sky 2010” movie to Sun Valley Opera House Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. as a benefit for the Wood River Bicycle Coalition. The movie chronicles the Leadville Trail 100-mile mountain bike race. Rusch is a two time Leadville Trail 100 Women’s Champ. The evening will include special guest appearances, a raffle and athlete question-and-answer period. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $15 adults or $10 children 10-and-under will be sold at the door or in advance at The Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum.
Close out a great festival at Sunday’s Fat Tire Photo Shootout
The myriad of events of Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival will be almost too much to absorb. But four world-class action sports photographers will do their best to capture the essence of the great sport of mountain biking at Sunday’s Fat Tire Photo Shootout.
It takes place Sunday, July 17 from 6-9 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum. The photographers including Anne Keller, Scott Markewitz, Karl Weatherly and Steve Lloyd will compete for a bucket of cash by presenting seven-minute slide shows—all projected with custom soundtracks on the giant screen at Whiskey's.
Along with the amazing sound and fury of the pro photo slide-shows, organizers will screen selected footage of David Butterfield's vintage documentary of the 1988 NORBA national bike championships in Sun Valley—the last time such an elite field competed in this community.
Admission is $10 per person. It includes a free beer and chance at the raffle with great prizes. Sponsors include Sturtos of Ketchum and Hailey, Smith, Scott and Penelope’s. Tickets are available in advance at Sturtos, the Sun Valley Visitor Center and oneline at sturtos.com.
Viewing areas, improved trails and closures for the week
This week’s Baldy races include the National Finals Pro XC, the National Finals Amateur XC as well as the National Finals Super D Downhill races--all from the Roundhouse down to the main spectator viewing area near River Run Lodge.
All races will finish at the lawn at River Run and most will use the newly improved "Baldy Rocks" Flow Zone across the BigWoodRiver. Also being utilized will be the new “Baldy Bench” extreme downhill section just above the River Run Shop and the "Climb to the Sun" rock garden coming out of the RiverRunPlaza area.
These are all new features built especially for this event, according to a press release from Sun Valley Resort, and spectators are encouraged to watch the world-class riders in their events.
Keep in mind these closures:
The River Run Trail and the River Run Service Road will both be closed to traffic until noon Sunday, July 17. The Bald Mountain Trail will be closed periodically during the week and signs will be posted indicating bypass locations. The Warm Springs Traverse Trail also will be closed from Flying Squirrel to River Run with hiker access allowed down River Run via the Bald Mountain Trail. Hikers and bikers on Baldy are encouraged to watch for trail closures, signage indicating alternative routes and fast bikers all through the week.
For daily updates and additional information please call 208-622-6136. For a complete source for all Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival information, please visit ridesunvalley.com.