How many times have we heard Andy call that out? Like many riders, I have grown with the series. From that first race in 2008 as a Cat 2, hoping to gain some experience but terrified of the expert riders I was racing against to today. I think I crashed every time I took my mountain bike out in those first few years and those first races. It was the perfect introduction to mountain bike racing though - hard and fast but with little consequences. Now I am the expert rider, looking for the victory in addition to the experience of racing. Instead of hoping to keep the rubber side down, I'm hoping to mix it up with the guys and at the very least not get lapped. Expectations change with experience and the young "punks" who were racing with me in 2008 are now national champions. Such is the power and potential within a simple seeming weekday race series. Which one of the youngsters racing now will become the next champion in a few years?
The fact that the Ascent Cycling Series is the perfect introduction to mountain bike racing hasn't changed. The size of the series and the venues are all that have changed. More racers, leading to the three different starts so that everyone can have a clean and safe event. Different venues around the city, with different challenges present one each race course. Love rocks and the challenge they present or reading different lines at high speed? Palmer Park will only whet your appetite for fun on June 3nd and July 29th. Want aerobically hard with lots of climbing but very few rocks? Head to Bear Creek on June 17th. Climbing with rocks, off camber descents and a some hard moves? That would be Cheyenne Mountain State Park - with a weekday short course race on July 8th and then the long race on July 19th.
The 2015 cycling family reunion that is the Ascent Cycling Series kicks off June 3rd at Palmer Park. We will once again go pester Amber at the registration tent, hoping to get a "lucky" number for the series. Clay and the crew from the sponsoring shop Ascent Cycling will be there for last minute bike repairs. The officials will take their places at the finish line, doing their best to keep track of everyone racing. The medical team will be hiding in the shade, hoping for a quiet night with very little to do. Roland will be out on course somewhere, keeping us in line and cheering us on. There will be familiar faces scattered among all three starts, with plenty of people to heckle while warming up or cooling down. And once Andy calls out that now ubiquitous refrain "Riders to the line" it will be time to focus. Time to race.