It all started with an unexpected phone call.
“Todd called based on what he was hearing about the trails here,” said Joel Dunn, executive director, Carson City Visitors Bureau. “I knew right away the event fit in with the rebranding effort.”
Todd is Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, the three-day mountain biking event coming to Carson City this week for the first time.
The rebranding Dunn and others were working on highlighted Carson City’s outdoor recreation and proximity to Lake Tahoe, including the trails Sadow was hearing about, like the 7-mile Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon Trail completed by Muscle Powered in 2014, which is a leg of the race.
It was September 2014 when Sadow called Dunn and got the ball rolling on what turned into an 18-month process to bring the premier mountain biking race here.
In January 2015, Sadow, an avid biker, came to town to check out the trails for himself.
“The quality of the trails they’re building here is phenomenal and they’re building them out of passion,” said Sadow. “They’re world class trails.”
Since then, Sadow has been back and forth on seven or eight trips, nailing down all the details to launch the inaugural Carson City Off-Road.
“Your community is amazing,” said Sadow. “It takes a village and Carson City has an amazing village.”
He attributes the expeditious process to Dunn, who identified a local event manager, Kurt Meyer; put together an organizing committee; and helped facilitate the extensive permitting needed to host the event.
“I see our role as putting all the pieces together,” said Dunn.
The permitting involved a lot of moving parts: the city for not only the race, which begins and ends at the capitol, but for two outdoor concerts and a 30-vendor expo along Carson Street between Musser and 5th streets, as well as Nevada State Parks and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Now, the event is here for at least the next five years.
Sadow said with it this year will come some 5,000 friends, family and spectators to see the race, listen to music, eat and drink at local restaurants.
Riders will stay at least two nights and many make multiple trips here to ride the course before the event and enjoy other trails in the region.
The event starts Friday, and so far, so good, said Sadow.
Registration hit the 600 racer cap six weeks ago, including 85 professional riders who are vying for a total $100,000 over three races.
“If it wasn’t capped we could have had 850, 900 racers,” said Sadow. “Growing incrementally is the safest way to play it.”
Epic Rides oldest event, the 13 year-old Whiskey Off-Road held in April in Prescott, Ariz., has 2,000 riders.
The second leg of the three-race event is the four-year old Grand Junction Off-Road held in Colorado in May.
Sadow’s goal is to launch what he calls flagship events in every region of the country that are synonymous with the best of the sport.
“Like Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon (in the running world) or Ironman. When people talk about triathlon, they talk about Ironman,” said Sadow. “Those series represent their sports.”