One of the most prestigious mountain bike races in the U.S. returns to Galena Lodge 23 miles north of Ketchum on Saturday, Aug. 10. It is the Galena Grinder Whit Henry Memorial marathon and cross-country mountain bike race.
Third and final stop on the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Mountain Bike Ultra Endurance Tour (Pro UET), the Galena Grinder will again offer 45-mile, 22.5-mile, 17.5-mile and 10-mile course distances, depending on race category.
It will be staged one month after the Sun Valley resort hosted the USA Cycling Marathon National Championships.
Saturday’s races will mark the 12th anniversary renewal of the current incarnation of the Grinder, a mountain bike race that’s been held here for two decades. And it’s the third year the Galena Grinder has been a featured Pro UET Tour stop.
The first 2013 Pro UET race for the country’s top endurance bikers was Sunday, May 19 at Lake Morena, Ca. Winners were Sho-Air/Cannondale racers Alex Grant of Salt Lake City, Utah and Monique “Pua” Mata of Yucaipa, Ca.
The second event was the Big Bear Classic at Big Bear Lake, Ca. on Sunday, June 2. Winners were Sho-Air/Cannondale’s David “Tinker” Juarez of Whittier, Ca. and Focus Bikers racer Jessica Cerra of Encinitas, Ca.
Juarez, 52, currently leads the Pro UET standings 100-60 over Grant. Cerra, 31, tops the women’s rankings 100-70 over Serena Gordon of Bend, Ore.
Cerra placed third in last year’s Galena Grinder, and was ninth and eighth in the last two U.S. marathon championships. Juarez won the Masters 50-54 class of the July 6 national marathon finals on Baldy. He is this year’s USA Cycling 24-Hour National Champion.
Last year’s Galena Grinder 45-mile two-lap marathon winners at the 7,300-foot altitude were Brendon Davids, now 20, of South Africa (3.37:56) and 33-year-old Pua Mata (3.51:03), who is originally from Hawaii.
There were 228 bikers last year—67 of those conquering the 45-mile marathon and others on the shorter courses.
Men’s runner-up last year was then-49-year-old Michael Tobin of Boise (3.39:00).
Saturday’s Grinder marathon begins at 9 a.m. and the other Knobby Tire Series races for Pro, Expert, Sport and Beginner racers at 10:30 a.m. Prize money is paid only to Pro/Open contestants starting at $500 for first-place men and women.
Entry fees range from $30 to $65 depending on the race. You can save money by registering in advance at usacycling.org (online entries taken until Aug. 8 at 10 p.m.) or knobbytireseries.com. In general, there is no day-of-race registration.
Camping will be available at Senate Meadows and Gladiator Creek near the lodge. Galena Lodge will be serving food until 7 p.m. Saturday and keeping the bar open until then.
The event is held in memory of Whit Henry, a 2001 Wood River High School graduate who died July 2, 2003 in an accident on U.S. 20 between Timmerman Hill and Fairfield. He became a passionate cyclist before his untimely death at 20.