Glassmeyer creates spandex rating, takes over Town Challenge for its return
The Town Challenge is special to Sarah Glassmeyer because it was her gateway into mountain biking. So, when she was offered the job as the series director, she hesitated. After some consideration, she took the job and will be heading the popular mountain bike racing series in its return to the Yampa Valley after a year off.
“I kind of hemmed and hawed a little bit, because I loved racing so much,” Glassmeyer said. “It was the one thing that made me not fearful of mountain biking for some reason. It sounds crazy that racing is the thing (that did that). I ended up thinking about it for a little bit, and I can’t believe I would ever have not said ’yes.’”
Glassmeyer loves the Town Challenge because it introduced her to racing with no pressure. She knows some people can look at the series and find it intimidating, something she’s hoping to change. She wants the series to provide a way for people to join the local mountain biking community.
“It got to be this thing I looked forward to every other Wednesday,” Glassmeyer said. “It was like, ’Hey we’re going to go see all our friends and race and push yourself as hard as possible and have this amazing feeling of people who have done this thing together.’”
So, Glassmeyer is breaking down the categories, a tricky part of the registration that might prevent newcomers from signing up. She’s labeled each division with a spandex rating, an idea that came from her self-dubbed “weird brain.”
The pro/open category is a 5/5 on the spandex rating, while the beginner/novice is a 1/5. Essentially, it rates how often someone in that category is likely to wear spandex or how seriously they take the race.
“One of our goals this year is to make it less intimidating for people who like to ride their bike but maybe did one race or rode on Emerald, and it scared them, so having it be a welcome environment,” Glassmeyer said. “We’re (a town) full of ex-Olympians. You go out for a casual ride, and people are amazing athletes, but it’s cool to have people who are amazing athletes at a different level have a place to shine, too.”
Sport riders are described as a 2.5/5 on the spandex rating, Single speeds are 2.5-3.5/5, and experts are 3.5-4/5.
June 2 – Marabou XC
June 16 – Emerald Endurance
July 14 – Mount Werner Madness
Aug. 11 – Buff Pass Hill Climb (permit pending)
Aug. 18 – Free community ride, BBQ, awards
In the grand scheme of things, the Town Challenge will look the same, but there are some changes.
The series will be four races this year starting at Marabou Ranch on June 2, and there will be less social gatherings after races. There is a community ride and barbecue planned alongside awards to conclude the series Aug. 18.
Despite construction at both Steamboat Resort and Howelsen Hill, there will be a race at both locations, but the start/finish area will be relocated.
Additionally, there is a permit pending for the Buff Pass Hill Climb, which would be held Aug. 11.
The series begins Wednesday at Marabou, a private ranch that allows the city to come in and host the race. Marabou is opening its gates to the public for pre-race course rides from noon to 6 p.m. May 31 and June 1. This Monday, registration opens, and course maps will be posted.
“I’m just excited to see people again personally,” said Emily Hines, marketing and special events coordinator for Parks and Recreation. “A lot of the folks who do the winter ascent series are the same people who participate in the bike series. But there are quite a few who aren’t part of that winter series, especially a lot of the kids.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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