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Nordic Valley Squirrel Chase
August 9, 2014 - Utah Off Road Series #2

It was a sunny 72 degrees at Nordic Valley for the second race of the new Utah Off Road Series. It was a fun race on a great course.

Nice bling! The cycling squirrel says I got on the podium.

Cat 3 (Beginner) and Cat 2 (Sport) classes raced at 10, with Cat 1 (Expert) and Pro going at 11:30.  There were more racers than at the season opener two weeks ago, although it was not exactly a mob. Organization was excellent, and the support (food and drink for sale) was nice.

In the parking lot, looking northwest, with the lodge at far right.

This series uses electronic timing. An RF chip sits behind the number on the race plate. As the rider passes under the detectors at the finish line, the chip gives an electronic "I'm here" signal. Every lap, recorded exactly.

My lucky number.

Some new trail has been added to the system, which is only a few weeks old. The race loop wanders in and out of the trees on the edge of the large ski slope. Most of the trail is about 6 feet wide, so passing is rarely an issue.

View of the lower portion of the course. You can make out a couple of riders flying along the descending (south) side of the loop.

The Cat 1/Pro course added a bit of narrow techy singletrack at the top, part of the brand-new addition to the system. In the photo, the left dot is where the Cat 1 course climbed higher past the apex of the Beginner/Sport course. The courses rejoined at the spot marked by the dot at low-center right.

Cat 1 course view. The timing station is at the yellow dot. The expert section (in the trees at middle bottom) is very narrow trail with plunges, twists, and tight turns.

[ Download GPX track file of Cat 1 race loop ] put seven riders on the mountain, five of whom were over 60. Most of the other riders, however, were youngsters. The Utah Off Road Series is USAC affiliated. Yes, it means you need a USAC license ($70 annual, $10 for a one-day racing permit). But it lets our Utah racers accumulate points toward Nationals. It's worth our support!

Rick Morris adjusts the helmet as he and Joel Quinn talk about the upcoming race.

For Beginner/Sport racers, the loop was 2.3 miles with 350 vertical feet of climbing per lap. Add an additional 1/10 mile for the shakeout sprint, as the race started at the south end of the meadow.

For Expert and Pro racers, the added tech singletrack made the loop 2.8 miles (1/2 mile extra) with 420 feet of climbing per lap. Most Cat 1s did 4 laps. The race was tougher than you'd think from the numbers.

Corey Spencer finishes lap two as he passes under the timing station. Up the mountain again!

Gene Poncelet tells me that the only live squirrel at the race was snatched by a hawk in the early morning hours.  But we did have a squirrel mascot at the lap/finish area cheering racers as they passed.

PS - The squirrel dug the bike trails at Nordic Valley. Really.

Nice touch!

It was getting a bit warm by the last lap. But it was "a bit of salt in the eyes" warm, not "uncomfortable to ride" warm. Great day of racing.

Joe Benson passes the timer's station as he starts lap 3.

UtahMountainBiking's team did OK for itself. Mitt Stewart took 1st place in Cat 1 Men 40-59.

After the Cat 1 action, Mitt poses with the squirrel, who is wearing an appropriate Summit team jersey.

Among the oldest racers, UMB dominated. We swept the honors for Cat 1 60-plus.

Bruce Argyle (3rd), Joel Quinn (1st), and Rick Morris (2nd) get their moment.

Results for UMB team racers:
  Cat 1 Men 60-plus

       Joel Quinn 1st
       Rick Morris 2nd
       Bruce Argyle 3rd
       Gene Poncelet 4th
  Cat 1 Men 40-59
        Mitt Stewart 1st
  Cat 2 Men 40-plus
        Corey Spencer 2nd
        Joe Benson 3rd
Help support this new race series!

Upcoming events:
     SBC's Wasatch 360 (Heber) Aug 23
     Nordic Valley Octoberfest (series race 3) Aug 30

[ See WeBeCycling's web page for info ]

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