‘True Grit Epic’ mountain bike race hits the dirt as season opener

Tinker Juarez, member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, trains for the True Grit Epic mountain bike race. This will be Juarez's first time competing in the True Grit Epic, Date and location not given | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — The sixth annual “True Grit Epic” mountain bike race, a challenging, international race set along the rugged terrain and red rock backdrop of Southern Utah, will take place on Saturday in Santa Clara.

“We are so pleased to invite dedicated mountain bikers to experience the impressive trails in the St. George area,” Kevin Lewis, director of the Washington County Office of Sports & Outdoor Recreation, said.

The True Grit Epic event consists of three races: the 100-mile pro, the 50-mile pro and the 50-mile sport race. The True Grit Epic is also the season opener for the prestigious National Ultra Endurance Series.

This year’s race is expected to sell out with 500 racers, up by 100 from 2015. Of those 500 participants, 450 are from out of state, and about 40 are international racers. Also up from last year is the cash purse, which totals at $5,000 and will be distributed to winners in both male and female categories of the 100- and 50-mile pro races.

A racer rides through the zen portion of the trail during the 2015 race. This year's competitors will take the same course; riders will race through southern Utah's stunning red rock scenery. Date and Location not given | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News
A racer rides through the Zen portion of the trail during the 2015 race. This year’s competitors will take the same course through southern Utah’s stunning red rock scenery.
Date and location not given | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News

“One of the reasons this race has become so popular is because this course is one of the toughest and most technical ultra endurance races in North America,” Race Director Cimarron Chacon said. “Riders will experience wide open and varied terrains with challenging climbs and descents.”

Racers can expect steep climbs to the top of four ridges for breathtaking views of desert plateaus, red mountains and white cliffs. The track, while known for being demanding, is also known for being one of the most beautiful.

“The setting in Santa Clara is really stunning,” Chacon said. “Along with its beauty, the city has always been very gracious to the participants. Our out-of-state racers can expect a warm welcome when they come in for the event.”

Participants will see more pro racers competing than ever before, including Tinker Juarez, a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame who will be racing in True Grit Epic for the first time. Also registered is Keck Baker, the National Ultra Endurance Series 2015 champion as well as True Grit’s 15-time defending champion.

Three of Costa Rica’s top national racers — Luis Anderson Mejia, Angela Parra and Jonathan Carballo — will also be competing and representing their country in the 100-mile race. They each participated in the renowned 2015 La Ruta de Los Conquistadores mountain bike race, where Mejia took first place.

Interested bikers can register at the True Grit Epic website. Any interested volunteers can email info@groraces.com and include “volunteer” in the subject line for a chance to participate at the Feed Zones during the race.

About the Office of Sports & Outdoor Recreation

The Washington County Office of Sports & Outdoor Recreation was created to help build on the brand of this area as a world-class destination for sports and outdoor recreation. The office services the needs associated with growth in sports tourism, including the opportunities it provides as well as the impact it has on local communities and the demand it places on our sports and recreation assets. The office plays a coordinating role in bringing business, government, sports and community leaders together to strengthen the local brand, manage resources and facilitate the infrastructure needed to attract appropriate sporting events, enhance recreational opportunities throughout the county, infuse economic impact and enrich the quality of life for local residents.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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