Epic Rides brought another “good day on the bike” to Carson City Nevada this past weekend. The Carson City Offroad is the third in their four race series and the last even in the Western USA before the series heads to the deep south for the Oz Trails weekend in Bentonville Arkansas. While new last year Carson City is a fan favourite for many racers as it pairs relatively fast and flowy singletrack with views of Lake Tahoe with the technical buffet trails like the infamous Flume trail. The Carson City Offroad also positions uniquely more accessible to many West Coast riders, just a hop away from the California border and a few miles from Reno NV International Airport. As with any Epic Rides race pros from all over the US gathered for a shot at big money and even bigger fame.
Fat Tire Crit
Friday’s fat tire crit was as always a showdown of guns and grit. A more simple criterium course than the past two race courses lead to shootouts in both the Men’s and Women’s races. In the men’s race round after round fired out of the field as Keegen Swenson in particular looked to make every attack stick. The simplicity and speed of the course made it hard for any attack to hold. As with every Epic Rides crit riders must use the same basic setups for both the fat tire crit and back country races, with tire choices being the only acceptable difference. Meaning in the crit most riders opt for no larger than a 34 or occasionally a 36 tooth chainring. Swenson and others were unable to stay in front allowing perennial shadow-boxer Tristan Uhl (Giant Co-Factory) to snake his way to the front and use his crit racing experience to charge to a win on the final lap.
In the women’s field it was the NoTubes/ Pivot show with Chloe Woodruff again proving she is THE American woman to beat. Fresh from a round of World Cup starts Woodruff would take not only the first lap preem of the El Yucateco HotSauce “Hot Lap” but also eventually the win. Woodruff played smart cards the entire race as things strung out through downtown Carson City. Nearing the final lap Woodruff sprung forward to surge for a win with teammate Sofia Gomez-Villafane close behind. A 1/2 for NoTubes/ Pivot makes a compelling argument for their sponsors and an equally substantial challenge to the competition for Sunday’ Backcountry “Epic.”
Chloe Woodruff (NoTubes- Pivot) takes the W with teammate Sofia Gomez-Villafane celebrating the 1/2 behind. – K Wehn
Climbing up from downtown Carson City to Marlette Peak (8600 ft above sea level) via Ash to Kings trails the course showcased the unbelievable scenery of the Carson City and Lake Tahoe areas. Local “Muscle Powered” trail crew has done a tremendous amount of work; bolstered by Carson City council and Epic Rides #HailTheTrail efforts and support. From Marlette Peak riders take the 4+ mile Flume trail singletrack. Panoramic views of Lake Tahoe make it hard for riders to focus on the loose over hard surface with extreme cliff exposure.
In the Men’s race Keegen Swenson (NoTubes-Pivot) and Howard Grotts (Specialized) attacked early to make a small break on the rest of the field. As the break set in and the field chased hard across the exposure of Flume trail and back toward town two riders began to make moves through the field. Cliff Bar teammates Ben Sonntag and Russel Finsterwald worked together to move close to the leading two. In an epic play Ben Sonntag bridged up from the field to the two before charging ahead in a sprint to a win.
The Women’s race was no less action packed but the song remained the same as the Friday night criterium. Chloe Woodruff’s legs; freshly opened from World Cup rounds, showed their muscle. Woodruff closed in on a win when she crashed hard on a loose gravel descent on the roll back into downtown Carson City. The experience and poise of Katerina Nash (Clif Bar) wasnt far behind; putting the two of them in a battle as the finish neared. Woodruff however still had matches to burn and would distance Nash on the final meters of climbing before the run in towards the finish line. Woodruff would add another win to her Epic Rides belt and put another point on the Epic Rides scoreboard. Behind her the ever hunting Evelyn Dong would surpass a fading Nash and notch her belt with a 2nd place for NoTubes and Spry Cycles.
As with all Epic Rides events sore legs and sunburns are treated with incredible hospitality and post race party. The Carson City Offroad brought Nevada’s party people out to celebrate a Good Day on the Bike in true fashion. The series takes a short break before commencing in October at the newly minted Oz Trails in Bentonville AR.