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Sept. 24 race around Utah’s Snowbasin resort race adds fresh singletrack and stunning views.
A newly opened 7-plus mile section of single and double track makes the Xterra Nationals bike course “a true mountain race course that weaves in-and-out of aspen glades and pines,” says Snowbasin Resort sport event operations director Steve Andrus.
For those that have raced the USA Championship in either of the past two years, the first 10 miles through the Wheeler Creek trail are the same. The bike course starts with mild, steady climbs on dirt, rock, and root-ridden mountain trails that climbs through the Wheeler slot canyon. The trail pops out at the Art Nord trail head where riders cross old Snowbasin road and climb up the East Fork trail, then drops down into some speedy descents to the Middle Fork trail, heads across old Snowbasin road one more time and connects with the Wheeler Creek Trail. Single track dominates this 10-mile stretch, which features elevation gains from the water at 4,900-feet to about 7,000-feet before a descent on Middle Fork trail shoots racers back down.
The new section starts where the Wheeler Creek Trail meets the Sardine Peak trail. Here riders are in for some more climbing that will take them to the ridgeline, rewarding their efforts with spectacular views of Pineview Reservoir to the right, and Snowbasin to the left. More wide-open vistas of Ogden Canyon lay ahead before the downhill onto Maples trail speeds riders through a meadow filled with wildflowers and back to T2 at the Snowbasin lodge area.
“It certainly has that ‘wow’ factor, especially with the switchbacks that twist and turn through the fall colors,” says Andrus.
Adds local age-group phenom Nick Fisher: “The new section of the course is so sweet, a constant smooth climb and wide enough to pass.”
The 6.1-mile trail run is pure singletrack minus a wide section coming out of transition that takes runners to the start of Green Pond trail. The 10K single-loop zigzags through aspen groves and fields of wildflowers. There are a few short, very steep uphills and about 700 feet of climbing.
More than 300 professional and amateur racers from more than 40 states are expected for the 11th annual invite-only Xterra USA Championship race.
XTERRA USA Championship Course Quick Look:
Swim course: Two 750-meter laps (no run in-between). Racers will take off from Port Ramp Marina for a mass start in Pineview Reservoir, where water temps hover near the wetsuit-required range (a final determination on if this will be a wetsuit legal or optional swim will not be made until the water temperature is read on race morning).
Elevation at Port Ramp Marina for swim start: 4,900-feet
Water temperature: expected to be in the 65-degree range
Mountain bike course distance: 28-kilometers (17.7 miles)
Total climbing on bike: 3,400-feet
Elevation at highest point: 7,300-feet (top of Sardine Peak Trail)
Elevation at T2/Snowbasin Resort Lodge: 6,400-feet
Trail Run course distance: 9.8-kilometers (6.1 miles)
Total climbing on run: 700-feet
Total climbing on course: 4,100-feet
XTERRA UTAH SHORT COURSE: Starts at 9:40 a.m. Same course as past years. The swim is half-distance, one 750-meter loop. The bike is 19K with roughly 2,300-feet of climbing (it turns back to Snowbasin Resort at end of Wheeler Creek trail instead of heading up Sardine Peak trail). The run is 5K, and cuts off midway through Green Pond trail.