Cyclists tear up annual event | SierraSun.com

Cyclists tear up annual event

Over a hundred cyclists battled to see who had the best lines, fastest lap times and gnarliest tricks last weekend as the Truckee Bike Park hosted the fifth annual Little Big Bike Festival.

The two-day festival kicked off on Saturday, May 27 with a women's skills clinic, which then led into two days of racing and jump jams as riders set out to prove who's the park's best on two wheels.

The festival also featured USA Cycling-sanctioned events for the first time with 13 races taking place spread between cyclo-cross and short course cross-country disciplines.

Crystal Bay's Kate Kelley was among several local riders who climbed the podium during the races.

Kelley would have to overcome issues with her bike before even reaching the starting line, but still managed to bring home a win in the Women's Cat 1/2 short track cross-country race.

"My bike wasn't working this morning, so I had to ride my little brother's," Kelley said. "But it was fine."

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The change in bikes wouldn't matter as Kelley took the lead from the start and added to it over the first few laps of the race.

"I thought if I could get out in front right away, I would be able to maintain it," she said. "That's how I usually like to race these local races."

By the final lap, Kelley had built a big enough lead that a crash going into one of the last corners wouldn't affect the outcome as she crossed the finish line well ahead of her nearest competitor.

"The corners were really soft by the end," said Kelley. "I crashed going into one of those. I was going a too fast and a hit it and washed out."

Kelley's younger brother, James Kelley, also captured a first place during the short course cross-country races with a first place in the Junior Cat 1/2/3 division.

On the men's side, Auburn's Nathan Barton said he was on his way back home from racing in Susanville, and decided the night before the Little Big, to enter the cross-country race.

Barton ended up leading from start to finish as he rode away with a first-place finish in the event, managing to hold off the charge from Truckee's Troy Deibert.

"Right off the get go I was leading," said Barton. "I just decided to go as hard as I can and it worked out really well."

Barton led for the first two laps of the race, while Deibert was forced to work his way up through the field of riders.

As the riders worked their way around the third lap, Deibert had managed to climb into second and was beginning to threaten Barton for the lead.

"Deibert was right on my tail," Barton said. "I was like, 'I better put a little more time on him,' and I hammered out another three laps to finish a few seconds ahead of him."

Truckee's Austin Guyette was the area's other top finisher with as he outdueled 14 competitors to take the win the Cyclo-Cross Men's Cat 4/5 division. Also from Truckee, Abe Haen took a fifth-place finish in the event.

The festival also included a jump jam, children's pump track jam, dual slalom races, prizes and raffles.

Proceeds from the Little Big will go toward expanding the Truckee Bike Park. According event organizer Brooks McMullin, the park is planning on adding a slopestyle course, and is awaiting further funding to begin the expansion.

Truckee Bike Park is open to the public and accepts donations on-site. For more information on upcoming events at the bike park or to donate, visit TruckeeBikePark.com.