SANTA CLARA — Long, tough and technical are only three words to describe the “True Grit Epic,” a mountain bike race packed with tests of endurance, strength and competitive spirit. The eighth edition of these races – comprising distances of 100 and 50 miles, respectively – begins and ends in downtown Santa Clara Saturday.
“For many ultra-endurance mountain bike racers the True Grit Epic has become the must-do race on their bucket list,” Cimarron Chacon, president and race director of GRO Promotions, said. “This can be attributed to the amazing trails, mild spring weather, stunning scenery and fabulous host town of Santa Clara.”
Approximately 630 are registered for this year’s races. The largest percentage of participants come from outside the area. Chacon said more than 90 percent of the competitors live outside Washington County, bringing an average of about two guests for a three-day stay.
A few notable participants include Tom Adams, the outdoor recreation director for Utah who has played key roles in state’s outdoor recreation industry for more than 20 years, as well as a 75-year-old and a mountain biker from Iceland.
“This is the biggest year yet,” Chacon added. “The race has grown by over 120 participants in 2018 and sold out in record time.”
Each race distance has an open pro category with a cash purse – totaling $5,000 for the event – in addition to sport class categories by age group. A junior category was added to this year’s event, as well as a “Kids Fun Run” to support the new St. George Bicycle Collective.
“This one is pretty extreme,” said Kevin Lewis, the Washington County director of tourism. “The terrain is tricky and the distance is grueling – but the competitors love it. There are very few races with the terrain features we have in the trails here. That’s a big draw for mountain bike enthusiasts.”