Marabou trails open in advance of Town Challenge kick-off race Wednesday | SteamboatToday.com
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Marabou trails open in advance of Town Challenge kick-off race Wednesday

Tom Keenan leads a pack of riders during the 2017 Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series event at Marabou.
Joel Reichenberger
2018 Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series schedule: June 6: Town Challenge Kick-off, Marabou XC June 20: Emerald Endurance, Emerald Mountain July 11: Storm Peak Hill Climb, Mount Werner July 18: Howelsen Hammer, Emerald Mountain Aug. 1: Sunshine Loop XC, Mount Werner Aug. 15: Emerald Elevation XC, Emerald Mountain Aug. 22: Free community ride, dinner, awards and prize drawings, Howelsen Hill    

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While this past year saw several new mountain bike trails built on everything from Buff Pass to Emerald Mountain, Tuesday is the last day for riders to sample another series of trails on the outskirts of town.

Starting Sunday, riders have been allowed to mountain bike on the Marabou Ranch trail system west of Steamboat Springs in preparation for Wednesday’s opening Town Challenge mountain bike race.

“It is such a treat for our racers to come out early and experience the trails,” said race organizer Emily Hines. “We can’t thank Marabou Ranch enough for providing us with the opportunity every year.”

The gated private community has been the site of the season-opening Town Challenge event for nearly 10 years, and local racers and other riders can ride its trails only during the lead-up to the early-summer race. The trails are open to the public Monday and Tuesday for course pre-rides from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Riding rules are as follows: riders arriving early or late will be asked to leave; riders are required to fill out the Marabou Waiver & Release, which is available onsite or at townchallenge.com. Riders should yield to horseback riders and other users; and no dogs are allowed.

The trails will be closed to the public for the remainder of the season after the conclusion of Wednesday’s race.

“It’s an unbelievably beautiful property, pristine and quiet,” says Routt County Riders Executive Director Kelly Northcutt, who also serves as Marabou’s resident mountain bike guide. “It’s fantastic for Marabou to open the trails to the public and host the first Town Challenge of the summer. It connects their beautiful property to the community and hopefully opens the door for more people to explore our valley and everything it has to offer.

“I encourage everyone to get out there and explore its trail network,” Northcutt added.

Racing will start Wednesday with the youth classifications at 5:25 p.m. Novice racers and the youth 13-15 division will take off at 5:40 p.m. before the pro/open riders start their season at 5:50 p.m. The last classification, womens sport, starts at 6:18 p.m.

A twisting course on Marabou’s rolling single-track trails awaits. The pro/open and expert riders will go 12.64 miles. The sport classes will ride 9.82 miles while the novice riders will cover 4.72 miles.

The post-race party, sponsored by Steamboat Radio and Storm Peak Brewing Co., will take place onsite at Marabou Ranch at the River House Lodge, complete with the Y-Not Wagon selling eats to racers and spectators.

Following Wednesday’s race, Town Challenge events will be held roughly every two weeks through the summer. Season passes are still available through Wednesday at a cost of $110 for adults and $50 for children. Individual races are $20 and $10 for pre-race registration, available at townchallenge.com, and $25 and $15 for day-of registration. Children, 6 and younger, race free throughout the season.

“It should be an awesome race, and Marabou’s perfect for it,” Northcutt added. “I hope other ranches see the importance of using trails as a way to engage with the community.”


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