‘True Grit Epic’ bike race tests skill, endurance on challenging course

In this 2016 file photo, riders compete in the 6th annual "True Grit Epic" mountain bike race in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah, March 12, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — Long, tough and technical are only three words to describe the “True Grit Epic,” a mountain bike race packed with tests of endurance, strength and competitive spirit. The eighth edition of these races – comprising distances of 100 and 50 miles, respectively – begins and ends in downtown Santa Clara Saturday.

“For many ultra-endurance mountain bike racers the True Grit Epic has become the must-do race on their bucket list,” Cimarron Chacon, president and race director of GRO Promotions, said. “This can be attributed to the amazing trails, mild spring weather, stunning scenery and fabulous host town of Santa Clara.”

Approximately 630 are registered for this year’s races. The largest percentage of participants come from outside the area. Chacon said more than 90 percent of the competitors live outside Washington County, bringing an average of about two guests for a three-day stay.

A few notable participants include Tom Adams, the outdoor recreation director for Utah who has played key roles in state’s outdoor recreation industry for more than 20 years, as well as a 75-year-old and a mountain biker from Iceland.

“This is the biggest year yet,” Chacon added. “The race has grown by over 120 participants in 2018 and sold out in record time.”

Each race distance has an open pro category with a cash purse – totaling $5,000 for the event – in addition to sport class categories by age group. A junior category was added to this year’s event, as well as a “Kids Fun Run” to support the new St. George Bicycle Collective.

“This one is pretty extreme,” said Kevin Lewis, the Washington County director of tourism. “The terrain is tricky and the distance is grueling – but the competitors love it. There are very few races with the terrain features we have in the trails here. That’s a big draw for mountain bike enthusiasts.”

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  • mjvande March 8, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

    • Crazy2 March 9, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      OH boy. Glad there are not too many of ya’ll around. life would be horribly boring.

    • comments March 9, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      this guy is a loon. Every so often when a mountain bike article is posted he’ll pop out of the woodwork. Compare the damage from mb’s to that of dirtbikes and atvs, and stop whining.

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