Racers set to Blast the Mass | AspenTimes.com

Racers set to Blast the Mass

The annual Blast the Mass Mountain Bike Challenge, featuring cross country, downhill and mountain cross (think boardercross) racing, returns to Snowmass Village Saturday and Sunday.

The seventh stop in the Mountain States Cup Series, the event draws top racers from around the West. As many as 700 riders are expected to participate.

The racing begins in earnest at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the start of the Big Burn Cross Country race. The 13-mile loop course is largely singletrack, including one section on the famous Government Trail, as well as sections of jeep road. Riders will climb about 3,000 vertical feet a lap.

Pro and expert class riders will complete two laps, while sport and junior class riders will do just one. Registration is open until 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

The mountain cross racing commences at 3:45 p.m. Saturday on Fanny Hill. The discipline is a lot like boardercross or skiercross, as it pits four riders racing in a head to head format on a course with berms, banks and jumps. Racers first qualify to establish a seeding order, then the elimination rounds begin. (Beginner and sport class women will race for free.)

On Sunday, the White Knuckle Downhill race takes center stage. Expert and pro class riders will race the Bonzai course, starting at 11 a.m. from the top of the mountain and finishing at the Snowmass Village Mall. Dropping 1,900 feet over 2.4 miles, the course features rocky technical sections, wide-open ski run areas and, of course, large jumps.

Riders will use the chairlift to access the course, while spectators can watch from the chairlift or the base area.

Beginner and sport class downhillers will race a different course, known as the Luge Downhill, beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday. A fast and fun course, it features lots of rooty, rocky sections of singletrack.

A beer garden will be serving frosties on the mall throughout the weekend, and representatives from Yeti bikes will be on hand with their latest cycles for test drives.

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