Some Utahns kick off their Fourth of July with fireworks, barbecue and afternoon games late in the day, but this year some started the festivities early in the morning at Sundance for the Weekly Race Series mountain bike races.
Each Wednesday evening through the summer an average of 80 to 100 racers show up for cross country races in the mountains. Tyson Apostol, Race Director, is a BYU alum and also participates in the weekly races. He explained why they held the Fourth of July event in the morning instead of the evening.
“This will give racers the chance to get their ride in early so later that day they can eat all that sweet barbecued meat guilt free,” Apostol said.
Most students can get involved with the series just with the bicycle they ride around campus. A mountain bike, a helmet and a quick drive is all that’s required to participate.
“The races are good for beginners and first timers because the environment is a bit more relaxed than a bigger weekend race,” Apostol said. “The races are easy to get to, close by, cheap entry and aren’t as time consuming as a larger race.”
According to the series website, the events cater to different skill levels with six race classes. Expert riders compete for about an hour on a 12-15 mile course of grueling uphill, downhill and winding flat track. Beginner riders usually do about 3-5 miles on a more forgiving course. The series also offers mid-range classes for intermediate-skilled riders.
The series also holds separate races for kids under eight. These races are on a flatter course and mountain bikes aren’t required. The races are great for parents looking to get their kids involved in mountain bike racing.
“It’s free and hardly any of the kids are crying at the end of it,” Apostol said.
Racers are eligible to receive awards at each event and also at the end of the series. However, racers do not win awards at each event. Participants are entered into the raffle with their race number and are eligible to win an award each week regardless of their finishing position. Racers that compete at multiple events and are high in the standings at the end of the season are eligible to win series-end awards.
Interested competitors can follow some simple suggestions to make their racing experience more enjoyable.
“To race you absolutely need a bike and a helmet. That’s about it,” Apostol said. “Show up a little early to register and familiarize yourself with the course.”
Racers can expect to pay $10 for a season number and $12 at each event. The next race will Wednesday, July 11 at the Heber Valley Trail System at 6:30 p.m. More information about the series can be found on the series website and Facebook page. The series does not hold a race for kids every week so parents should check the schedule and Facebook page for updates.