True Grit mountain bike race tests endurance of athletes

SANTA CLARA — The True Grit Epic saw its sixth annual mountain bike race Saturday with nearly 500 bikers from all over the United States and abroad competing in the grueling trek, including a contingent of Costa Rican riders who gave this year’s epic more of an international flair.

Riders competed in the 6th Annual True Grit Epic mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, Mar. 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Riders competed in the 6th Annual True Grit Epic mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, Mar. 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

With overnight weather bringing rain to the area, temperatures at the 7 a.m. start were cool for the first wave of approximately 100 riders. As the day went on, the overcast skies gave way to occasional sunshine and the temperatures warmed up.

“After a crazy night of wind and rain, the course reports are that it is going to be tacky and fast,” Race Director Cimarron Chacon said. “So it turns out it’s just a pretty good thing, except for a little bit of chilliness in the morning.”

Riders had two choices for the race: A 100-mile course and a 50-mile course. The 100-mile option is two laps on the 50-miler. All riders had to be finished by 6 p.m.

After introductions, a few words from Santa Clara Mayor pro tempore Mary Jo “Tode” Hafen and the singing of the National Anthem, the first wave of riders took off to cheers from supporters and the loud clanking of a cowbell played by Chacon.

Riders competed in the 6th Annual True Grit Epic mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, Mar. 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Riders competed in the 6th Annual True Grit Epic mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, Mar. 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The city of Santa Clara has been very supportive, Chacon said, adding that encouragement from the city has allowed the event to grow over the years.

The True Grit Epic is the first race on the National Ultra Endurance Series calendar, with 13 100-mile races to follow in 13 states and one race in Costa Rica, NUE Race Series Director Ryan O’Dell said.

“The True Grit has become almost the perfect starting race … to kick off the national series. The weather here, the location, the trails, the availability of accommodations brings a lot of racers from the northeast where the weather is terrible. You get to come to beautiful St. George and get your race season started early,” he said.

The NUE series is a “best-four-of” competition — meaning that competitors are judged on their four best results — and because of that, it is becoming increasingly important for riders to achieve a good result early in the season, O’Dell said.

“True Grit is becoming more and more recognized as a go-to race. You need to be at that first race,” he said.

For race results, visit the True Grit website.

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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