Utah kicked off its favorite Intermountain Cup race series this weekend with the Red Rock Rampage in St George! The race utilizes portions of the Green River Valley trails to create a beautiful, seven-mile course loop filled with scenic views and challenging terrain. Dusty desert riding at its best! “The I-cup race series has lots of different venues, and it’s a really fun series,” says Summit rider Jane Haight. “I raced this course last year, and I love it. It has some fun technical rock, hard climbs, and fun cruisers.”
Weather was cooperative in southern Utah. It had rained the day previous, but race day dawned dry, overcast and cool–perfect riding conditions! St George in the springtime is unpredictable, but often beautiful, and the I-Cup did not disappoint!
Summit Bike Club athletes had a great turnout at the race, and all had a great experience, with many taking podiums across a variety of categories.
The Red Rock Rampage starts the season with a bang. In the early spring, it was many of the athletes’ first race of the season, and a great chance for them to test their fitness and size up this year’s competition in a fun, low-stakes environment.
“The I-Cup is a very good indicator of where my fitness is at,” Brennon Peterson says, “and this year gave me some confidence for the upcoming out-of-state races.” Brennon, who races for the Pivot-Competitive Cyclist team, rode with the elite men, and took 9th–a place he was very happy with for so early in the season.
Not everyone’s fitness is where they want it to be yet. It was Morgan Hales’ first race of the season, and while she had fun, she definitely feels that the race was “more about getting back into the swing of racing and remembering my routine”. She still got on the podium, however, taking 3rd in Varsity Girls. As the season goes on, she has her sights set even higher.
Rylan Shadegg, who races for the U23 Pivot-Competitive Cyclist team, already has a couple of races under his belt this year, and taking 4th this weekend has him “starting to feel really good about this season” and “happy to be out there racing”.
While all the riders were there to race hard and do their best, these early season races like the I-Cup remind us it’s important to have fun too!
“I love the community in mountain biking.” Says Jane Haight, who took first among the freshman-sophomore girls “Like, at the beginning of the race [our category] wished each other the best of luck. I like it because in the race we can get competitive, but outside the race we are all friends.”
Some riders, like Elly Peterson, were pleasantly surprised with their results. “I wasn’t sure how my first race of the season would go since I haven’t been riding much, but I’m really excited it worked out since I’m getting ready to race for the first time out-of-state in a couple of weeks for Pivot-Competitive Cyclist.” Elly took first in Junior Varsity Girls.
Jameson Motto also had a great time, holding a steady 2nd place in the fresh/soph boys category throughout most of the race, but sprinting to the finish line for a 10 second win.
Not everything goes smoothly on race day, though. Gabe Noorda felt great about his first Varsity race, holding the lead till about 1/4 mile from the finish, when he suffered a rear flat that cost him the win. He still managed to run it in for second place, though!
Gabe finishes despite a flat tire. What a trooper.
Brennon had some tough moments near the end of his race as well. “I saw two people ahead of me, and I had to work my butt of to catch them. I knew that if they hit the downhill before me it was over. I sat on their tails the entire way down to the finish, but unfortunately my legs were completely wrecked and I couldn’t even attempt to sprint, I just watched them ride off into the sunset!”
But ultimately, it’s the little things that make the race all worth it.
“The best part of the race was eating all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after!” Elly says.
Jane remembers: “In my opinion, one of the best feelings ever is crossing the finish line at the end of the race. It is always a good sign when you feel like your going to puke your guts out. It is so rewarding to feel like you gave it all you got, and that you did it. It is also very fun and rewarding to find out you took first!”
All-in-all, Red Rock Rampage was an awesome race, and has its riders chomping at the bit for more. The I-Cup series opener has set the stage for a great season for SBC athletes, and we’re excited to see where the trails take us! #growMTB