Marabou race kicks off summer cycling series
Town Challenge returns with race on private ranch
If you go
What: Town Challenge mountain bike race
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Marabou Ranch will host the race. The ranch is located on County Road 42, west of Steamboat Springs.
Cost: $35 for on-site registration. Register online before midnight the day before a race for $25. Season passes are available for $155.
More info: The Town Challenge series is a bi-weekly local race series in and around Steamboat Springs. There are divisions for all levels of riders and routes with varying degrees of difficulty to match.
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs Town Challenge mountain bike series is back for the season, starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Luckily for those who love the bi-weekly summer races, it’s back bigger and better than it’s been in recent seasons.
The series kicks off Wednesday with the Marabou XC, a cross-country race outside of town at Marabou Ranch. There’s one more official race — a seventh — than the series featured last year, and there will even be one race after that: a weekend event tentatively scheduled for mid-September on Emerald Mountain.
“The racers wanted it,” said David Stevenson, who oversees the series for the City of Steamboat Springs’ Parks and Community Services department.
It all starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when the first of five youth divisions will kick off from the starting line. The adults follow, with the pro/open division set to start at 5:50. The final group, the women’s sport class, begins at 6:26.
For the top riders — those in the pro, open and expert divisions — 12.2 miles of singletrack that will offer an extensive tour on the rarely available Marabou trails.
This will be the series’ second consecutive annual stop at Marabou, but riding those fresh trails hasn’t always been an option.
“It’s a nice change in scenery, and it’s beautiful out there,” Stevenson said. “It’s a private community, so you can’t just go out there and ride. People really value this opportunity to get out there and have a different venue and new trails to ride on.”
That will only be the beginning of a long summer of riding. The next event is set for June 24 on Emerald Mountain. Races follow on July 8 at Mount Werner, July 22 on Emerald, July 29 at Mount Werner, Aug. 19 on Emerald and Sept. 2 back on Mount Werner.
An eighth event is also part of the plan. Stevenson said it won’t be included in the annual Town Challenge season ticket, but regular racers will be able to ride for 50 percent of the cost. It won’t factor in to season points standings. Organizers are hoping it can be a strong weekend event, a fitting finale for another summer of racing in Steamboat Springs.
“We want to have more of a finale race and see how it goes this year,” Stevenson said. “We want it to be related to the series, but kind of independent. We’ll be hoping to pull in as many Town Challenge races as possible.
Registration for Wednesday’s race will be available on site from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 at Marabou.
Stevenson also said he is still looking for volunteers to help out with this year’s series. For more information on volunteering, email EHines@SteamboatSprings.net.
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