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Mountain bikers to tackle Smuggler today

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The summer cycling season for the Aspen Cycling Club will hit the midseason mark today with the iconic Smugger-Hunter Creek Cross Country race.

“This is an epic mountain bike course with a little bit of everything, including sweet singletrack,” said Mike Maple, president of the Aspen Cycling Club. “This race is not to be missed.”

Mountain bikers can register for today’s race through the Aspen Cycling Club website. Racing will begin at 6 p.m. The start for the popular mountain bike route is at the base of the Smuggler Mountain Road.

“Racers will head up Smuggler,” Maple said. “At the top of Smuggler, near the observation deck, racers will make a left and continue climbing onto the Smuggler/Hunter Creek Cutoff Trail. Then, the riders will descend, following the four-wheel drive road.”

He said that at the capped mine area, racers will go right onto the Iowa Shaft Trail (singletrack).

After descending to the valley floor, make a right on the double track, Maple said.

The course then goes left before crossing the bridge. Following singletrack, racers will go right onto the 10th Mountain Division Bridge.

“Once over the bridge, take a left onto a short trail that will get you to the jeep road climb to Four Corners,” Maple said. “All racers will continue up this Four Corners Road.”

Sport and master divisions will descend Sunnyside’s Lower Plunge and make a right onto the Hunter Creek Valley floor, continuing to the finish.

The A divisions will continue up to Four Corners, then go right onto the Hobbit Trail to descend to Van Horn Park and to the Hunter Creek overlook.

“The A’s will finish by descending back down the Four Corners Road, then down the Lower Plunge,” Maple said.

“Faster A category racers and sport/masters category racers should be aware that there may be some overlap of racers on the Lower Plunge Trail,” Maple said. “Faster riders should always alert slower riders of a pass. Slower riders should always yield, pulling over at a safe spot to slow down or stop for passing racers.”

Maple said the race will be followed by the first party hosted by new sponsor, 520 Grill.

Next week, the Aspen Cycling Club will host the popular Woody Creek Criterium, stage at the Woody Creek Raceway.

Mountain bike racing will return July 10 with the Government Trail race.

Last week, the cycling club stages its annual Basalt-Norrie Road Race on the Frying Pan Road.

Aspen native and professional bike racer Alex Hagman won the Senior Men’s A race in a final sprint over Wade Newsom. Hagman rides for the Jelly Belly cycling team.

Max Taam, international ski mountaineer, finished third with Danny Sullivan fourth and Greg Strokes fifth.

Aaron Pool was seventh with Michael Shea eighth.

Vail endurance athlete Mike Kloser rode and finished ninth.

The top 12 finishers crossed the line within 10 seconds of each other.

Rachel Beck, of Aspen, won the Senior Women’s A race last week. Gesa Lapese was second.

dstrode@aspentimes.com


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