Some of mountain biking’s best will race at Northstar
Staff reportsThe NORBA California State Mountain Bike Series is slated to hit Northstar-at-Tahoe for the eighth stop in its nine-race series with a downhill race July 9 and a cross-country race July 10.”It’s a great spectator event because much of the course is visible from the middle,” Nicole Belt, Northstar-at-Tahoe’s communications manager, said of the downhill race, which can be viewed clearly from the base of the Vista Express chairlift. “We get a whole gamut of spectators who come out.”One local who said he may be among the spectators at the race is Spencer Raymond, a service manager of 10 years at Cyclepaths in Tahoe City. On a course as gnarly as Northstar’s, bigger bikes with longer suspension are the ticket, Raymond said.”The downhill course is pretty burly,” he said. “There’s a lot of technical stuff. A lot of rocks and big stuff in the way.”The course is loaded with a variety of features, Belt said, from rock drops to banked turns to open, high-speed areas. The highlight for spectators is the Stadium Jump, a large kicker located near the third tower of the Vista Express chair.Danni Connolly, a Truckee resident and seven-year professional downhill racer, is familiar with the course and all the features it has to offer.”I think it’s really good, really technical,” Connolly, 23, said of the course. “I think it’s definitely one of the best.”Connolly said she competes in the National Series and North American World Cups. Her strength: technical courses, just like the one at Notrthstar.”(The race) is going to be fun. Hopefully I’ll have some competition,” Connolly said. “Hopefully some girls will show up.” Belt said if spectators purchase a hiking-only pass they will be able to ride up Village Express and walk over to Vista Express to watch the race.The specifics The race tour takes bikers from San Diego to Arcata and all points in between throughout the year. Produced by Team Big Bear, this race series caters to all ages and ability levels and has categories for both individuals and teams.Racers can register for the downhill series from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 8 or from 810:30 a.m. on the day of the race. The race begins at noon on Saturday. The cross-country course will be open for practice on Friday afternoon and the downhill course will be open for practice on Saturday morning.Racers can register for the cross country series on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 710 a.m. The race begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Northstar’s cross country course contains moderate climbs and technical single track with a nice mix of fire roads for passing other racers. In addition, Team Big Bear will host a Jr. Olympic Short Course race on Sunday for children ages 14 and under starting at 10:05 a.m. The traditional Team Big Bear “Little Guys Race” for children ages 5 and younger will begin at 10:30 a.m.The registration fee is $25-$43 depending on the race class. All racers must have picture identification and a current NORBA license to race. One-day licenses are available to racers for $5 a day.For racers who want to stay the weekend, Northstar offers a 35 percent lodging discount to all competitors.Those seeking further information on the Cal State Mountain Bike Series at Northstar can log onto http://www.teambigbear.com, or call (909) 866-4565.
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