Junior Bike Week to hit the area June 26 – 30

A Downhill, Short Track race and the Omnium added this year

[ by Than Acuff  ]

For the eighth year, throngs of bikers young and old, but mostly young, roll into Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte for Crested Butte Devo’s Junior Bike Week presented by Shimano Wednesday through Sunday, June 26-30.

The event continues to bring in more and more riders from all over the country and has inspired the creation of similar events in other towns.

“The first few years of the festival saw a much greater percentage of local participants and that has flipped significantly with out-of-valley numbers comprising just over 70% of our start lists,” says Crested Butte Devo director Amy Nolan.

The event continues to grow in numbers, as well as offerings, with all things biking on tap for this year including a new Downhill event and a revamping of the overall title, now called the Omnium. Still, Nolan and her team are committed to keeping the festival about fun with a healthy dose of competition.

“We’ve just built on it every year with competitive events and kids, bikes and family type events,” says Nolan. “We’re still heavily focused on the quality and safety of the experience.”

 The five-day bike festival kicks off Wednesday, June 26, as CB Devo, the Crested Butte Conservation Corps and the Nature Connection team up for a trail work day working on the Bike Park behind the Crested Butte Community School at 2:30 p.m. The workday will include a presentation from Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) director Dave Ochs.

“It’s a really good opportunity for kids to hear what goes into building and maintaining trails,” says Nolan.

Thursday is when the rubber meets the… trail, as competitors will be checking in for the festival and racers will be able to get practice runs in on Avery in CBMR’s bike park as they prepare for the first racing event of the festival, the downhill, on Friday. The day will conclude back at festival headquarters behind the Crested Butte Community School with the Schwalbe Tire Huck at 6 p.m. and the Kick-Off party presented by Orange Seal complete with mocktails from the Horsefeather Mobile Bar.

The racing starts on Friday, June 28, with the Downhill on the Avery track at CBMR supported by Oakley and Troy Lee designs. The downhill race is new to Junior Bike Week. It all started with an enduro on Whetstone trail two years ago, turned into an enduro at the resort last year and is now a full-on downhill format this year.

“The best place to do this type of racing is on the mountain and Avery is a good track for the younger riders with ‘French’ (less technical) options around the more technical sections,” says Nolan. “It’s a great discipline to add and attracts a broader audience.”

Avery will be open for practice runs by competitors from 9-11 a.m. with the racing starting at 11:15 a.m. and wrapping up at 2:30 p.m.

As is tradition with Junior Bike Week, Friday night is movie night and this year the Ritual Film Tour, a collection of mountain bike films covering travels and trails around the globe, is coming to the Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6 p.m., films start at 7 p.m. and includes a raffle with all proceeds going to CB Devo.

“It’s going to be a super good show,” says Nolan.

Saturday brings another new event to Junior Bike Week. In addition to skills clinics, Foot Down competition presented by Ride Concepts shoes and the Pump Track Challenge at the Bike Park behind the community school Saturday afternoon, there will be Short Track racing from 10 a.m.–12 noon with a course in and around the practice loop by the gravel pit and around the perimeter of Tommy V Field.

“It’ll be a mix of trails for some safe passing areas,” says Nolan. 

Sunday, June 30, the week comes to a head with the event that started it all, the Junior Wildflower Classic presented by Berkshire-Hathaway HomeSevices, Osprey Packs and ESI Grips. This cross-country race has been the staple of Junior Bike Week and all the action starts at 8:30 a.m. with a collection of courses utilizing the Lupine Trail system, Lower Loop and Woods Walk. Gunnison Valley Orthopedics will be out and about to provide medical support for the race.

“We have a great medical staff in place,” says Nolan. “We are super grateful for the medical support.”

The awards ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. back at festival headquarters behind the community school with ice cream from Third Bowl. In addition to announcing the cross-country race podiums, they will also announce the winners of the Omnium, the best overall riders from the Downhill, Short Track and cross-country disciplines. 

Camping for festival participants will be available adjacent to Tommy V Field and the gravel pit road and all info and registration, which is open until midnight on Tuesday, June 25, can be found at juniorbikeweek.com. 

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