Sunday, May 1, 2011

The First Annual Berthoud Pass Downhill Skibike Race and Huckfest

Fresh powder and cool temperatures greeted skibikers on Berthoud Pass on Saturday April 30, 2011. Cars packed with eager participants in the first ever downhill ski bike race down 7 Mile started arriving at 7 AM.

Devin Lenz and crew arrived around 8:00 am and immediately started shoveling out a spot near the U.S. Forest Service warming hut. After shoveling out a staging area and race start, a stream of skibikes and other equipment erupted from the Lenz Sport trailer.

Around 9 am the first group of skibikers got a tour of the 7 Mile Run by Devin Lenz. The group got shuttle rides back up the pass from volunteers with pickup trucks. Ski bikers had a choice of four guided tours before the racing began.

After touring the race route, participants got to munch down on hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, chips, and beans. A few skiers and snowboarders touring Berthoud Pass came over to socialize and learn more about skibiking.

After eating, most skibikers started prepping their bikes for the afternoon racing. Devin Lenz then gave a run down on the race format, had racers signup, and then issued race bibs.

In all, sixteen people officially signed up for the inaugual run. Participants came from around the Front Range of Colorado, Durango, New Mexico, and Wyoming. There was a strong contingent of skibike instructors from Winter Park Resort, riders from Pedal the Peaks in Durango, and from New Mexico.

Racers were then lined up according to race bib and started every 2 minutes. Final times were recorded at first curve at the bottom of Berthoud Pass. Each racer got one run. While helmets were not required, everyone wore one for self preservation.

Racers battled 2 feet of fresh powder, some narrow lines, steeps, trees, tree branches, and all manner of backcountry skibiking. Most survived unscathed while one rider trimmed a 1.5 inch diameter tree branch with his full face helmet.

Riders were shuttled back up to the top of the pass for the jumping contest. After moving and setting up the ramp in the area below the warming hut, contestants worked up the courage to ride the ramp. Skiers and snowboarders tried out the ramp too.

About seven ski bikers decided to enter the jumping contest. There were a few backslaps, a handlebar ejection, and some tomahawks. No one got hurt.

Everyone then retired to the Berthoud Pass parking lot for the awards ceremony. Devin Lenz won the DH and Cliff from Pedal the Peaks in Durango won the jumping contest.

More photos from the event can be found here.

© 2011 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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