WINTER PARK, Colo. – The absence of snow on Winter Park’s slopes can only mean one thing — mountain-biking season is here.
Winter Park Resort will hold the first race of its Epic Singletrack mountain biking series, the Excel Roofing Hill Climb, on Saturday, June 14.
The race will follow a five-mile route starting at the base of the mountain road and ending at the top of the Iron Horse Lift. The total elevation gain will be around 2,000 feet.
“The hill climb tends to be a changer for our series riders that tend to be going for the overall,” said Jerady Zunno of Winter Park’s competition center. “This is a good one for the rider that likes to climb and challenge for those that don’t like to climb.”
This year’s hill climb won’t include the final climb to Lunch Rock.
Turnout is on track to match last year’s, Zunno said, with 200 series riders and an additional 250 to 400 riders per race. Zunno said she expects about 20 professional riders in the field.
This is Epic Singletrack’s 22nd year, and it’s the only exclusively cross-country series in Colorado, Zunno said.
“We’ve been doing it for over 22 years,” Zunno said. “We have a really strong reputation of producing a very well run race, from the course layout and the marking to support along the way to support at the top.”
The series includes six races from June to August as well as the “Epic 50,” a 50-mile endurance race that follows Fraser Valley singletrack trails and county connecting roads. Each race includes awards for a variety of categories and skill levels.
“The series is made up of a wide variety of different races throughout the Fraser Valley trail system, so each race brings something different,” Zunno said.
New this year is the junior series, which is for riders 13 and under. The series splits youngsters into two categories, 12 to 13 and 11 and under, and the races are a bit shorter than normal.
“It’s a growing area in the schools as well as just generally in Colorado,” Zunno said. “We’ve added that to our series at a lower price so we’re hoping to engage some of these young kids who want to take their street riding to another level.”
The junior series will be included in the Excel Roofing Hill Climb on June 14, the Colorado Epic XC on July 26 and the Excel Roofing King of the Rockies on Aug. 23.
The series regular entry cost is $240 per person. One-race pre-registration by 4 p.m. the day before the race is $45. Regular registration by 9 a.m. on race day is $55. Riders 18 and under can subtract $15 from the cost of an individual race or $90 from the cost for the full series. Registration for the junior series is $15.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.