Mountain Biking at the Huntsman World Senior Games
||The Huntsman World Senior Games are open to athletes over
age 50. Held in St. George, usually in early to mid-October, the games
feature competition in a variety of sports, including tennis, basketball,
golf, marathon, triathlon, road biking, and (our favorite!) mountain
biking. You don't need to qualify for the games -- just come and have fun.
At the Mountain Bike Festival at the
Senior Games, bikers get together for a fun ride with family members,
off-duty road bikers, and seniors who want to ride but not compete. Photo
October 12, 2002, near Clavicle Hill on the Bearclaw Poppy Trail.
|Events: Hillclimb, Downhill, Cross Country
Age divisions: Five year intervals (example 55-59)
Classes: Beginner, Sport, Expert
Winners are 1st through 6th
place in each category. For example, age 50-54 men's Expert, 50-54 men's
Sport, 50-54 men's Beginner, 50-54 women's Expert, etc.
There's also an "overall champion" for each category based on
points earned in the three individual events.
That's Randy heading away from us. Randy's from SLC and has a few gold
medals and an overall championship to his credit.
||You'll find a mix of fun folks at the games. Yes, there are some
ruthless competitors who are amazingly fast and strong, but most are just
in-shape over-50 guys and gals who are there to have a good time and see
how they measure up.
The 50-54 age group jumps out from the
starting line at the Cross Country Event. October 15, 2002.
||The Hillclimb and Downhill events are held on the same day.
These are "time trials." Riders start individually, about 2
minutes apart, and ride as fast as they can. (Yes, you can use a different
bike for the Hillclimb and the Downhill, but you need to arrange to have
somebody deliver your DH bike to the top of the hill.)
In the Cross Country event, riders are
started by age group. There will be some race strategy and jockeying for
|The Cross Country event usually follows some variation of the
Intermountain Cup Race Course. Expert distance is 20 miles. It's a fun trail with a bit of technical stuff in a couple of
rock-bottom washes. Riders are started in larger groups, a minute or two apart, bunched by
age. Despite the large number of riders, there's a good chance of
"placing," because there are Beginner, Sport, and Expert
categories in each of the 5-year age groups.
Rock and Roll! What a pleasure to race
on gnarly track without any hot-headed young punks -- except for the young
punks that are cheering you on!
||The Senior Games are non-profit. Events are manned by
volunteers who donate their time. Your fee pays for "hard
expenses" like professional race officials. At every event, riders
are treated to gratis Gatorade and an assortment of "carb
Crossing the finish line. And if your
skin isn't intact, it means you get a special "purple heart"
|To enter the Senior Games, you need to register in advance.
This can be done on-line at the games' web site: http://www.hwsg.com.
Registration deadline is about two months before the games. There's a fee
to enter the
games as a whole, plus $10 per event entered.
You also need a valid NORBA racing license for the competition. If you
don't have a yearly license, you can buy a temporary license at the games
for $5 per day. (You buy this license at the same place you check in for
You get a Senior Games golf-shirt, various freebies, food
and drink at the events, registration and racing license for all three MTB
events, a nice meal at the awards ceremony, and a great time.
Athletes and their families hit the
buffet before the awards ceremony.
||So if you're over 50 and ride a bike, I'd suggest you make
the Huntsman World Senior Games part of your October plans. Meet riders
from around the country and around the world. Pick up a medal to show the
Red Rock Bicycle in St. George provides support for the games. They can answer your
questions, or even provide you with a full set of wheels for the race.
Cue the music, as the winners are
honored. Randy, a rider from Salt Lake on the left in this photo, has won