The first US Pro XCT of the season, the Mellow Johnny's Classic mountain bike race, is offering a total prize purse of US$15,000, one of the biggest purses in the mountain race world. The top pro men and women will enjoy equal payouts on March 2 at Flat Creek Crossing Ranch in Henly, Texas.
Race organizers say that this purse and its distribution costs them more, but it's well worth the expense to attract the best talent of all genders, as well as positive advocacy for more female athletes getting on the trail.
"It's a primary part of our mission, really," said Will Black, General Manager at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, the race organizer. "It goes back to those proven Title IX statistics. The fewer barriers we put up for women to compete, the more likely they are to participate. That's what we want."
Mellow Johnny's Spring Classic is a UCI Category 1 mountain bike race and the first stop on USA Cycling's Pro XCT. The event will be racers' first challenge of the season, as well as the perfect chance for spectators to enjoy a day full of racing action in the beautiful Texas Hill Country at Flat Creek Crossing Ranch.
"Flat Creek Crossing is a fantastic venue for race fans as we've set up the race circuit to give spectators the best show possible - there are lots of great viewing spots and the lap times will be fast, giving fans exposure to the pro racers going by," said Ted Arnold, Mellow Johnny's Spring Classic Team Liaison.
In addition to elite pro men and women categories, there will be a Kid's Cup Youth Series for ages 2-12 and all USA Cycling amateur categories. Spectators can expect to see many pro athletes, including Emily Batty, Annie Last, and Sam Schultz of Trek Factory Racing to name a few.