The second annual Carson City Off-Road event kicks off today with a 15-mile fun ride and men’s and women’s professional criterium races through downtown Carson City.
Several streets will be blocked off today through Sunday. There will be a bike expo as well as a beer garden and food booths. Live music is scheduled all three days of the event.
The first scheduled race, as part of the Epic Rides series is, the Capitol 15 Fun Ride at 2:30 p.m. today. The second amateur race of the day (6 p.m. start) is the Klunker Crit, a two-lap event around downtown.
After that, the downtown area belongs to the professionals. The women’s criterium gets underway at 6:30 followed by the men’s race at 7:20.
The criterium course has been altered a bit, as fewer streets will be shut down. The criterium is 20 minutes plus three laps. All races start and end in front of the Legislative building.
On the women’s side, Katerina Nash returns to defend her criterium title. Nash won a tight battle over Rose Grant, Maghalie Rochette, Olivia Dillon and Amy Biesel in last year’s crit.
On the men’s side, Geoff Kabush is back to defend his title. He led Russell Finsterwald, Jeremy Martin, Ben Sonntag and Kyle Trudeau across the finish line.
Saturday it’s all amateur races. The Capital 50 starts at 7:15 a.m. and the Capital 35 starts at 8.
Connor Rosborough of Arizona won the Capitol 35 a year ago. Brad Scott, Tom Mazaitis, Darin Cartwright and Cary Shales rounded out the top five. Chad Turner was the top Carson finisher, logging a 15th.
Jake Yackle, a Reno teenager, won the Capitol 50. Chris Jackson, Mike Donahue, Nathan Miller and Chris Beardsley of Incline Village took the next four spots. Dennis Brinson was the top Carson finisher, taking 50th.
On Sunday, the professionals are back in action for their backcountry race. Snowfall forced race officials to alter this year’s course. Instead of seeing the racers only at the start and finish, this year’s race will have the riders making three loops of the course. Spectators will certainly be able to keep better track of the racers.
Nash and Kabush won the backcountry races a year ago.
Nash has approximately a 13-minute lead on the women’s field.
Kabush currently is second in the overall standings, trailing Howard Grotts, who has won the first two backcountry races.
“I’ll do my best to keep that lead,” Grotts said. “This is bike racing, and anything can happen. I’m excited to see what the trails are like in Carson City. I’ve only heard good things about the town and event, and the course should be plenty challenging. We are racing three laps on a shortened course, but it’s going to have the most climbing of the three Epic Rides events, something like 7,000 feet over 54 miles.”
This is the first year Grotts has raced a complete Epic Rides schedule. He has mostly been racing internationally.
“This year I’ve been mostly focusing on U.S. races,” Grotts said. “I’ve been pretty happy with how the season has played out. I started with the eight-day Cape Epic stage race in South Africa back in March, and haven’t had much of a break since then. Training has been going well, and I’m still making progress and not plateauing so that’s a good sign. My big goals are the Marathon World Championship in Germany and the World Cups in Andorra and Switzerland after that.”