||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
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.
GPX track file of Cat 1 race loop ]
||UtahMountainBiking.com 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
Rick Morris adjusts the helmet as he and Joel Quinn talk about the
||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.
||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