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Thursday night mountain bike series hosted by Northstar

Darin Olde, Sierra Sun

Back by popular demand, Northstar-at-Tahoe will host the Thursday Night Mountain Bike Race Series on its home turf. The series began last Thursday, June 29 and will continue every week until Aug. 17.

“It was really only Monday, June 26, that we said we were doing it,” said Laura Abbey, Special Events Director for Northstar. “Tony Rogiers gave us a commitment as the timer and that was it.”

The trails at Tahoe Vista and Lake View Cross Country Center were two of the three trails included in the series last year. Because of liability concerns event organizers were not able to obtain the necessary permits to include the two trails in this year’s race series. Northstar, which operates its own mountain bike park and hosted the third track of the series last year, already has insurance, and decided to host the race if they could get enough volunteers.

“Gary Morgan and Mike Henry – who run mountain bike programs and are bike enthusiasts – found out that the series wouldn’t be taking place because they couldn’t get a permit,” said Abbey. “We got together to see what we could do about it, and decided we wanted to do it on our own.”

Gary Morgan, Trail Maintenance Manager, said that Northstar puts new tracks and trails together every spring, so building new and varied courses wouldn’t be a problem.

Northstar will run the series the same as last year. Three divisions – beginners, sport and expert, will be further divided into men’s and women’s categories. Prizes will be doled out at the end of the season when points tallied from each of the races will be compiled to determine overall finishers.

There are two courses, a 3.5-mile loop and a 6-mile loop. Beginners will complete two laps in the 3.5-mile loop, the sport class will complete three, and the experts will complete four laps. On the 6-mile loop beginners will make one lap, sport riders two, and experts three. During the week of July 7 the course will switch back to the longer loop, and then alternate courses each subsequent week.

“This is great for the kids,” said Jeff Griffo one of the first participants to register last Thursday. “They get great mileage and great exposure. The kids were doing the Kooka Cup loop which is 10-12 miles and it was like ‘Okay, bye guys, remember me.'”

Jeff’s kids, Chris, Philip, Daniel and Joey all competed in the first Thursday night race which took place June 29.

“Every body had a good time. And from what I heard everybody liked the course,” said Gorman.

All races start at 6 p.m. at the upper plaza of Northstar’s Village. The entry fee is $8 per racer with registration in the Village from 5-5:45 p.m. the evening of the race. Racers must compete in three races to qualify for the end-of-season awards, although each race will include a raffle and small award ceremony.

For more information on the Thursday Night Race Series and other mountain bike events, please call 800-GO-NORTH, or visit http://www.skinorthstar.com.


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