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Frozen Hog 2008

The 2008 Frozen Hog followed a record-setting January snowfall. Despite the best efforts, snowstorms repeatedly closed the trail to pre-riding as fast as the UMB team members could clear it. But the trail was ready to ride for the race. Those riders who braved the conditions were rewarded with a tough and tricky snow ride, a race they can brag or complain about for years.

Principle sponsors of this event are and Racers Cycle Service. We appreciate the kindness of Alpine City in providing the facilities and trails for the Frozen Hog. Craig Skidmore, chair of the Alpine City Trails Committee and fellow mountain biker, helped Bruce lay out the race loop 4 months ago, approving new trail on the upper mountain for the exciting Expert add-on.


This year the trail featured a longer loop, more twists and turns, and more climbing. Sport riders faced their longest and toughest Hog, in a year when conditions conspired to make things even tougher.

Experts faced a higher-mountain add-on, designed to slow them down so they wouldn't catch the sport-class riders. The route climbed to the wilderness boundary and descended via the new White Dog singletrack.

Mike Walkenhorst, a member of the winning Chosen Frozen team, powers through the trees. Note the height of the snow compared to his front tire.

But there was NO easy trail in this race. Snow was as high as the bike tires in many spots. This race required perfect bike handling to avoid bumping the sidewall or dropping your front wheel down into the unpacked snow along the sides of the trail.

The snow held up well for the first lap. The UMB race team (and others) had spent over 100 hours in the past two weeks, trying to keep the trail open and packed for pre-riding. Bruce personally hand-shoveled 10 inches of fresh powder from 2 miles of trail on Friday.

Eldon Nelson pays the price for banging the trail sidewall. The trail is actually 12 inches higher than the ground here, so you have to climb out of the snow uphill.

On the second lap, the tires began to churn things up, and it got really tough. Here's a sample expert-rider's time: 1st lap = 22 minutes; 2nd lap = 34 minutes.

The loosening snow increased the penalty for bobbling or overpowering the tire tread. It was ride a bit, run a bit. It became critical to ride a straight line as the sides of the trail were mashed away by fishtailers, runners, and tumblers.

Shane Horton rolls through the lap/finish fork, ready to head uphill to the finish line.

The race winner was Scott Wetzel of Draper, powering his Moots through the shakeout lap and two expert laps in 1:03:10. In addition to his first-place prize (a merchandise certificate from Racers Cycle Service) and raffle prize, Scott received a motel stay in Moab for his effort.

On his way to the win, Scott Wetzel eyeballs the steep loose climb up to Box Elder Drive.

The four-person team competition was won by Chosen Frozen, with two 1st places and two 2nd places for 25 total "podium points." Team members are Scott Wetzel, Joe Gardner, Mike Walkenhorst, and Jason Gardner.

The Frozen Hog team trophy belongs to Chosen Frozen for 2008. This a traveling trophy, staying with a team only as long as they can defend their title.

Racers Cycle Service, which held the trophy for the past three years, came in at a close second place. They missed a tie when their "25th point" hiked her flat tire into the award ceremony after time had expired.

Cutthroat Racing fielded a small but fast team, taking 3rd place in the team competition.

Kenny Jones put together another tough team for Racers Cycle Service. He finished first in his category on a semi-flat tire. Teammate Kellie wasn't so lucky, as her flat tire came completely off the rim. Despite this misfortune, they came within a hair of keeping the title.

The cold, the deep snow, and the funeral for Gordon B. Hinckley made for fewer race fans at the site. Compared to past years, there were only about 1/10th the usual number of trailside spectators.

We also had the fewest women riders in years. Not sure what that's about. Apparently, only the toughest showed up.

12-and-under racers did the shakeout loop. Lars Bergaust made the fastest run on this snowy mile loop.

Caleb Gerber takes a dab as he prepares to roll around the west end of the 12-and-under loop and start back uphill.

Compared to past Frozen Hog races, this year saw fewer racers from outside the local area. Again, we'd blame this on the weather. After all, what sane person would believe you could ride a bike in these conditions?

Alpine Mayor Hunt Willoughby races his second Frozen Hog. One mountain biker, one who's willing to put in the work and put up with the politics over the years, can make an incredible difference. Alpine's trail system is the envy of many cities.

Preparation of the race site was complicated by the heavy snowfall. Friday, we had two front-end loader tractors trying to move snow for parking, but it was too deep, too heavy, too loose. Trail prep required hand-shoveling and stomping, plus a snow-blower to the flat wide sections.

Two propane heaters and plastic wrap made the Bowery a bit less frosty, and there was a nice toasty fire pit outside. Free cookies, and a brand new water bottle. 

That's the Frozen Hog team trophy on the table. Steve, Richard, and Kendra staff the registration table, while Mike confers with other event volunteers.

This year's Frozen Hog also featured a raffle to benefit the Huntsman Cancer Center, organized by Richard Williams and Eldon Nelson ( Dan Hutchings won the 29er singlespeed.

First-place winners got merchandise certificates from Racers Cycle Service. We raffled off a ton of swag from Lizard Skins, Bike Peddler, and Timpanogos Cyclery, plus three additional motel stays in Moab. We estimate over $3000 in value, not counting the bike.

Eldon Nelson pulls the winning ticket, as Bruce and Matt look on and Mike holds the raffle prize.

The 2008 Frozen Hog is a not-for-profit event. Money raised by this race is donated for improvement of mountain bike trails. Thanks, riders, for your part in improving our bike trails.

Link to:
     Frozen Hog 2008 video (video download page)
     Lambert Park trail preparation countdown page
     Race course map
     Race results
     Racer Photos (Zazoosh Media LLC)
     More photo galleries from the Frozen Hog 2008

Please remember these businesses as friends of mountain biking. 

Thanks to Alpine City for allowing us to use the
Lambert Park Pavilion, rest room, and trail system.

Ah, this photo provides the perfect way to end the Frozen Hog 2008 web page.

If you have suggestions for the 2009 Frozen Hog race, share them with us while the race is still fresh in your mind.

See you next year.

Volunteer Organization Role
Mike Engberson Race coordinator, t-shirt sponsor logos, on-line registration, site prep, check-in, racer times, head judge, awards, cleanup.
Bruce Argyle Trail layout, trail marking, trail preparation, site prep, starter, medical standby, finish line caller, award announcer, cleanup, video editor, web page assembler.
Steve Argyle Frozen Hog t-shirt design, site prep.
Matt Flygare Sponsor relations, prize procurement, sound system and music, video camera, prize raffle, cleanup.
Todd Taylor Snow moving for parking
Erwin Oertli Snow moving to widen Bowery road
Dominic Bria Site prep, course marshal, cleanup.
Craig Skidmore Alpine City Trails Race course plan and layout, Alpine City Trails Committee chair.
Richard Williams UMB race team Heater for pavilion, racer check-in, benefit raffle, finish line, cleanup.
Derek Ransom Trail prep
James Livingston Parking, course marshal
Steve Winters UMB race team Check-in, finish line tag puller.
Dale Hutchings UMB race team Trail prep, swag bags, traffic control, cleanup.
Alex Argyle Trail prep, site prep.
Eric Taylor UMB race team Finish line racer tag time transcription.
Mike Holder Trail prep, fire barrel and wood
Kay Hutchings UMB race team Swag bags, racer tag time transcription, cleanup.
Larry Wimmer Trail prep
Jay Griffin UMB race team Trail prep, photography, cleanup.
Justin Griffin UMB race team Parking direction, photography, cleanup.
Gene Poncelet Trail prep.
Ben Hutchings UMB race team Photography, cleanup.
Kerry Smith Utah Rocky Mtn Bikers Trail prep
Sally Hutchings UMB race team Trail prep, swag bags, finish-line recorder, cleanup.
Kendra Clark UMB race team Trail preparation, racer check-in, finish-line recorder, cleanup.
Kendra's brother Trail prep
Dan Hutchings UMB race team Parking, racer direction, cleanup.
Kris Nosack UMB race team Trail prep, race direction, finish-line posting and spotting, cleanup.
Mike Both Swag bags, finish line racer time documentation, cleanup.
Diane Argyle Swag bags, photography, cleanup.
Kristen Argyle Video camera
MORE PEOPLE... Who did stuff... If we missed you, drop me a line!