Sunday, 14 July 2024

Shannon Ridge to host national mountain biking race

CLEARLAKE OAKS – Putting its eye-popping scenery and rugged terrain to great advantage, Shannon Ridge Winery and Vineyard plans to host a national mountain biking event this fall. {sidebar id=59}

Shannon Ridge will host the final race of USA Cycling's 2008 National Ultra Endurance series. Events in Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Idaho, Wisconsin, Arizona will precede the showdown, which takes place in Clearlake Oaks Oct. 18 and 19.

The Shannon Ridge Showdown Ultra-Endurance race will be a 16-hour competition and the course itself is approximately 7.5 miles in length with over 1,700 feet of climbing per lap, according to Chris Baker, Shannon Ridge’s southeast regional sales manager. The course route is a combination of single track, double track, fire access roads and vineyard rows.

“It's probably going to be one of the hardest races in the country,” said Baker, an avid mountain biker who helped design the course and the event.

Baker, who took up mountain biking in 1989, first brought the idea of hosting the race to vineyard owners Clay and Margarita Shannon.

A few year ago he started endurance racing, taking part in 12- and 24-hour solo races, and racking up wins and high national finishes. He also began to meet national racing champions.

When he saw the ranch for the first time, Baker said he suggested to the Shannons that they should get on the national racing calendar as a great way of promoting both the county and the winery.

Baker said they submitted the necessary paperwork to host the race last November.

While the biggest race category will be solo riders, Baker said there also will be two-person teams and multi-person teams.

Additionally, there will be a wine industry race category for mountain bikers who are involved in the wine industry, according to Baker. Participants in this category will be allowed to race solo or on a team of up to five riders. The wine industry race will run from 4 p.m. until midnight on Oct. 18.

The race will have a controlled start in front of the Shannon Ridge tasting room on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks, Baker explained. Sheriff's cars will go before and behind the riders, who will ride two miles up Highway 20 before turning onto Morine Ranch Road.

“That's really where the race will start,” said Baker.

Riders will start off with a grueling race to the top of the hill, with 900 feet of climbing in less than a mile and a half, said Baker. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first male and female racers to reach the top, who also will be named King and Queen of the Hill.

USA Cycling is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, and promotes American cycling through its 60,000 members and 2,500 annual events.

The showdown will be the first time that a USA Cycling Mountain Bike Ultra-Endurance series race course has included vineyards as part of the course route, Baker reported. The race and course is designed, promoted and directed by endurance racers.

Ultra-endurance racing is the fastest growing form of mountain bike racing.

Rebecca Rush, who is the current 24-Hour Solo mountain biking world champion, will make the trip to Lake County to compete, along with many of the top ranking male and female Ultra-Endurance racers, Baker reported.

Baker said the winery is focusing on this event before it decides on hosting future races.

“It could be a really big deal for Lake County and for Shannon Ridge,” Baker said.


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