Cyclists from all over the country will start descending on Carson City this week for the second annual Epic Rides event to be held June 16-18.
Last year’s event was a rousing success, as pros and amateurs alike tested their abilities in the off-road and criterium races, and this year’s event appears to be just as popular.
There are 15-, 35- and 50-mile races for amateur riders, and a race for children on Sunday morning. The pros will participate in the criterium on Friday night and the 50-mile backcountry race on Sunday.
The main beneficiaries of the event are Muscle Powered and the Nevada Interscholastic Cycling League.
“Last year was a lot of fun,” said Kurt Meyer, race director. “We are just 22 spots short of 900 total riders. The pro entries are hovering around 90 riders right now.”
Meyer said the heavy snowfall this past winter has forced event organizers to change the backcountry portion of the event. The new course, instead of riders going out and back, requires three laps.
The pros will start the 50-mile race (actually 53.9 miles) in front of the Legislature building and goes 6.9 miles to Ash Canyon to the Kings Canyon Trail. From there they will go to Ash Canyon Road (1,972 feet) and then 1.2 miles on Creek Trail. Then it’s on to Deer Run Trail (2,877 feet), Jackrabbit Trail (3,074 feet), Postal Route Trail (2,382 feet), VT Rail-to-Trail (515 feet), Kings Canyon Road (1.4 miles), EZ Trail (3.4 miles), Borda Meadows Road (1.2 miles) and Pooh Corner Connector (1,407) before going past the start/finish line. They will do that route three times.
“The backcountry course was amazing last year,” said Amy Biesel, who was third in the backcountry race and fifth in the criterium. “There were plenty of places to pass. Loops are nice,too.”
“It was no surprise that they had to change it,” said defending champion Geoff Kabush, who has spent a lot of time in Truckee, and has ridden the new course. “It will be great for the spectators. It should be interesting.”
Kabush was in the area during the winter, and saw first-hand what was the worst winter in at least 12 years.
The 15-mile race, which is actually 16.6 miles in distance, starts in front of the government buildings and riders will go up Kings Canyon Road to trails leading to Winnie Lane and back down Ash Canyon Road to Ormsby Boulevard to Richmond Avenue to Robinson Street where riders will cross Mountain Street and go back downtown.
Riders in the 35-mile race will follow the same route as the 15-mile riders but will take two loops.
The always fun-to-watch criterium (0.9 miles in length) starts in front of the Legislature building, goes up 2nd Street, continues on Nevada Street to Telegraph and riders will turn right on Elizabeth, right on Robinson and south on Nevada where the cyclists will be riding in both directions.
Katerina Nash edged Rose Grant and Maghalie Rochette in the women’s criterium last year. All three are expected to be in the field for both races this weekend. Geoff Kabush (North Vancouver, British Columbia) returns to defend his criterium title. He edged Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs) and Jeremy Martin (Boischatel, Quebec) a year ago.
The pro cyclists, who will actually ride 53.9 miles, will ride three laps giving spectators more opportunities to watch the action. A year ago, spectators saw the riders only at the start and finish.