Get ready folks, the third annual Carson City Off-Road starts Friday.
That means hundreds of professional and amateur bike racers will congregate in downtown Carson City for races Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
That’s not all. There will be vendors aplenty selling their biking and clothing wares, and plenty of music for people of all ages.
The racing action gets underway at 2:30 p.m. Friday with the Capital 15 Fun Ride, and the first night of the event concludes with the El Yucateco Pro Women’s Fat Tire Crit at 6:30 p.m. followed by the men’s crit at 7:20 p.m.
El Yucateco has become the new sponsor of the criterium races on the Epic Rides circuit. The company is offering $4,000 series-wide purse.
A local restaurant, The Union, will have some menu items and cocktails to race attendees, including Caribbean pizza and spicy Micheladas.
Kurt Meyer, the event manager, said that the criterium course has been shortened by one block.
“It will be more exciting and more spectator friendly,” he said. “You will get to see the riders more often.”
Meyer and Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, both said there are plenty of great viewing areas around the crit course.
Of course with a race like this several streets will be closed in the downtown area. Meyer said local residents have been notified, and the street closures have been posted.
“I live in the neighborhood (where the crit takes place), and when I’m out there, I let people in the neighborhood know what’s going on,” Meyer said.
Saturday is filled with two amateur races — the Capital 50 (7:30 a.m.) and the Capital 35 (8:15 a.m.). And, there will be plenty of music thanks to the Four Peaks Brewing Co. Concert Series. Drinking With Clowns kicks off the music schedule at 1:30 p.m. on the main stage followed by The Lique at 3 p.m. on the McFadden Stage. At 6 p.m. on the main stage it’s the Desert Rhythm Project followed at 8 a.m. by MarchFourth Marching Band, also on the main stage.
The pros are back in action Sunday with the 50-mile race. The men start at 8:30 a.m. and the women start at 8:40.
The pros will be riding a brand-new course. In 2017, heavy snow forced event officials to alter the course from the course used in 2016.
The Marlette Flume Trail has been added to the 50-mile course. The addition was made possible through the Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest and the Spooner Lake State Park Ranger District made it possible.
The riders on the Ash to Kings Trail on their way out of town, thanks to the support of the Carson City Open Space Advisory Committee. Riders will realize a steep descent before hopping on Kings Canyon Road huge views of the Sierra Nevada while climbing to Spooner Lake.
From there, riders will take on the flume trail. After completing that segment, they will ascend just a little further to the Tahoe Rim Trail on their way to Marlette Peak, and then do it the more enjoyable way in reverse as was done during the event’s inaugural year.
The course, according to Meyer, gets even better after riding the Rim Trail to Marlette Peak with double lake views of Marlette and Tahoe, as riders will then descend Sunflower Hill Trail.
“The sunflowers are really popping right now,” Sadow said. “Last year was really tough, and the snow stopped us from using the route we used in 2016.”
All of these trails, plus the trail work put into the Secret Trail by Muscle Powered, make for a significant increase in the amount of overall singletrack in the route.
The layout means strategy is vital, because there are no passing opportunities on the single-track portions of the course.
“I think it’s an easier course this year,” Sadow said. “Single track you can go hard. The riders are going to get some great views.”