Getting on track: Northstar mountain bike races begin
Six laps down, one more to go. This thought races through Kurt Bahnomon’s head as he braces, lifts and drives down the rocky, dirt hill.
Bahnomon, of Kings Beach, is one of more than 50 riders who turn out every Thursday night for Northstar-at-Tahoe’s weekly race series.
The races, which started last summer from humble beginnings, now witness as many as 75 men and women every week racing down one of two new courses.
Trail crews built the two new trails this summer specifically for the race series, adding to Northstar’s existing trail network that constitutes the largest park in Northern California. Riders complete anywhere from three to seven laps on the four and seven-mile courses depending on their age and ability level. Race categories for men and women are beginner, sport and expert, and athletes range from age 13 to 50.
“We designed the courses for some speed and some technical riding, but not too technical that beginners can’t join in the races,” said Northstar Communications Manager Erin Bernall.
The new trails are located on the lower half of the mountain, allowing for a race start at the Gondola in the Village. The series is scheduled to run through Aug. 16 and the cost to participate in each race is $8. Race day registration will take place in the Village from 1 to 5:45 p.m. the day of the event and races begin each Thursday promptly at 6 p.m.
Final standings from each race are tabulated and riders can accumulate points throughout the season. Category winners will be determined at the end of the series and prizes will be awarded to the leaders in each age group and skill level. Prize raffles are also held each week following the races.
The series has grown significantly from the 2000 series, when a group of avid local riders and Northstar staff began to hold impromptu race events at the mountain.
This is the first season the series has been held on a consistent basis, and after three races this year, the numbers continue to multiply.
“It’s a great opportunity to get out and compete in a relaxed atmosphere with some really talented riders. You can come out as often as you want or just come out and race once. Either way, it feels good to have a little competition,” said Bahnomon.
Results from the Thursday series will be posted in the Sierra Sun the Thursday after the race.
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