Grassroots racing for the people.
Race report and images by Eddie Clark
(May 22, 2010) PALISADE, Colo.—The sixth annual Palisade Classic got bigger and better for 2010. Despite a one week weather postponement, a large group of racers and volunteers returned for a great day of mountain bike racing in the fruit and wine country of Colorado’s Western Slope.
Originally scheduled for a full weekend of events on May 15th, the mountain bike racing was postponed due to excessive rains that turned the course into un-ridable mud. “We’re very appreciative to everyone for re-arranging schedules to come ride this”, echoed third time Palisade Classic promoter Rondo Buecheler.
No stranger to developing mountain bike destinations, Rondo Buecheler was one of the original players in the development of mountain biking tourism in Fruita. “The Town of Palisade is a huge support for this event. They’re building this town into a tourism and mountain biking destination. Palisade wants to be known as the gateway to Grand Valley riding.”
The tour of the Fruit and Wine Trail was also on tap for those seeking a mild road ride through the scenic orchards and wineries of Palisade. With numerous orchards, thirteen different wineries, a brewery, and a distillery on the tour, there were plenty of fresh fruit and tasting room options.
At 7:30am expert racers embarked on a 39 mile loop which featured 4700 feet of climbing. Starting with a police escort through town, racers hit the dirt on the Rapid Creek trail to make their way up Grand Mesa. After climbing for almost an hour, racers had to contend with the first of several swollen creek crossing that were mostly not ridable, and then push on for more climbing.
Women’s Expert overall winner Kathy Judson came all the way from Boulder to ride this for the first time. “I knew it would be a great course and there would be a lot of climbing, which I like” said Judson.
Men’s Expert overall winner Brett Steinberg pre rode the course on Thursday, and noted, “It was a fun course… it really helped to know what was coming with all the climbing.”
The sport and beginner races had a 10am start and rode a much different course with less climbing and mileage, but still plenty of high desert singletrack. Taking the same route out of and into town, racers hit the dirt on 38 ¼ Road which leads out past Horse Mountain and into some super strong headwinds before partaking of some genuinely single singletrack.
Luckily, the headwind became a tailwind for the last half of the lollypop course. In all, sport racers completed 21 miles, and beginner racers completed 19 miles of fun filled scenic Grand Valley riding.
First place 18-28 Sport racer Kyle Cragin was stoked on the racing and nice weather.
“The singletrack was pretty awesome, some of it was sandy so that was a bit tricky in the corners” noted Cragin.
For complete results, please visit Palisade Classic
For additional photos, please visit Photo Cycle