By Sarah Pridgeon
Two annual racing events are coming up in September, both to take place on the Sundance Trail System in the Bearlodge Mountains. While the 8th Annual Bearlodge Mountain Classic invites mountain bike racers to travel the trail, the 5th Annual Sundance Trail Run challenges runners to make their way along the challenging mountain trail.
The Bearlodge Mountain Classic will be held on Sunday, September 16 at the Reuter Campground, with registration opening at 7 a.m. The challenge begins at 9 a.m. with a 20-minute safety briefing prior to the race.
Three course options are available, the first of which is the Cubs Challenge, an 8.9-mile ride up to Sand Pit Road, down the Edge Trail to the turn-around and back up to the finish. Designed largely for younger participants, cub riders will leave 10 minutes after the main field begins and under-14s ride free.
The Challenge Course is a 14-mile trail with singletrack, rock gardens and great views. “Some people ride the course just for the sheer fun of going up, getting refreshment and heading back down,” says the Sundance Chain Gang Mountain Bike Association (SCGMBA). “It’s a fun ride and will help you become a better rider.”
The aptly named Epic Challenge is an endurance test that consists of a 24-mile course with additional technical singletrack in South Fork, additional stream crossings and plenty of climbing. Thanks to the five-hour time limit, riders will need to average 5 mph in order to finish.
Online registration for the Bearlodge Mountain Classic is available at www.scgmba.org
The Sundance Trail Run will be held the following weekend, on Saturday, September 22, beginning at the Reuter Trailhead. Two course lengths are available: 10k or 50k.
“Both courses are challenging technical singletrack on mountain trails,” says Paul Anderson, Race Director.
The 10k race will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will cover the Reuter Springs Trail to the intersection with “Bitch Pitch,” turning right onto Sand Pit Road to the Edge Trail, then descending Bitch Pitch and the Reuter Springs Trail to the finish.
The 50k race meanwhile starts at 7 a.m. and takes in Ogden Creek and Ridge, as well as Tent Canyon Ridge, South Fork and the Edge Trail.
Registration for both courses is available at www.ultrasignup.com Check-in for the 50k will be located at Wild West Espresso on North 3rd Street between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. the evening before, while 10k runners should check in at the race start between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Further information about the Sundance Trail Run can be accessed at www.sundancetrailrun.com; you can also find information by searching for “Sundance Trail Run” on Facebook or following @gosundance on Twitter.
“Volunteers have marked the Sundance Trail System with blue diamonds that have a bear paw and a letter that coordinates with the nonmotorized Sundance Trail System map produced by the U.S. Forest Service,” says Anderson. “Over 100 hours is volunteered annually towards maintenance to clean trail corridors in preparation for these two events.”
Profits from both events are invested back into trail maintenance tools and used by SCGMBA to purchase prizes for the Sundance Community Elementary Bike Rodeo, held for elementary school students.