Popular mountain bike destinations Moab and Whistler will each get a new mountain bike stage race in 2012. Race organizer Furious3, which hosted its first ever three-day mountain bike stage race in Fernie in British Columbia, Canada this summer, will add two more such races to its calendar for next year.
The first Furious3 stage race in Fernie was held two months ago and included 300 riders. It will be run again in 2012 from June 30 to July 2.
"Our first race was in Fernie and the 300 spots sold out in just three weeks," said Furious3's owner Mark Kaltenbach to Cyclingnews. "We felt there was a niche so we figured we'd see if Whistler and Moab would want to host, too."
Kaltenbach used to own a few bike shops and has previously organized triathlons, but he comes from a mountain biking background and was interested in organizing events for mountain bikers.
The new Whistler race is scheduled from August 24 to August 26, 2012, while Moab's race is on the docket for September 29 through October 1, 2012.
"The events are designed to be three days and family friendly," said Kaltenbach. "Rather than going from location to location, these races are based out of one place. Racers stay in the same location for three days and you can spend time with your family more easily after each day's stage."
"With the Fernie race, we scheduled it over a long weekend, so you don't have to take off any time to do it."
Due to the busyness of Whistler, that race will be held on a three-day weekend from a Friday through Sunday that is not part of a holiday while the Moab race will be held on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday just prior to Outerbike, which will start the Wednesday immediately afterward.
Kaltenbach is thinking big by including major mountain bike destinations like Moab and Whistler, but he figured it was best to start promoting three-day mountain bike stage races closer to home: hence the choice of Fernie to kick his efforts off in 2011.
"Fernie is close to Calgary, which is where I'm located, so I've been there and ridden quite a bit. It's a place where many people haven't been and they don't know how great the trails are," said Kaltenbach. "Whistler and Moab are mountain biking meccas already. People go to Whistler for downhill and freeride and the town is used to having those events. Everyone knows where Moab is, so it's a no brainer and Moab has not had a lot of races there."
Kaltenbach defined the format of his three day events. "The first day is always about 40-50km, but we take time into account so we might extend it if it's flatter or there is less climbing. Day 2 is a harder day. For Fernie, it will be 55km on day 2. There is more climbing and it's more difficult. The last day will be easier than the second day, probably pretty equal to the first day. We'll finish off with the funner trails, so people forget how hard the other two days are."
The number of racers for Moab and Whister will be capped at 500 while Fernie's limit will be set to 400. Kaltenbach noted the races could be bigger, but he is concerned about traffic congestion due to having too many racers. "The first day will have a longer leadout into the singletrack to spread out the field while days 2 and 3 will have wave starts to break everyone up."
Categories will include solo (men, women, 40+, 50+), team (men, women, co-ed. 80+, 100+).
For more information on the events, visit furious3.com.
Furious3 Mountain Bike Stage Races for 2012
June 30 - July 2: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
August 24 - August 26: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
September 29 - October 1: Moab, Utah, United States
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.