In addition to whitewater, fly-fishing, running, climbing, and dog-friendly events at the GoPro Mountain Games, dual slalom bike races have been added. While most of the events take place in and around Vail, Minturn Bike Park will host this one-on-one format that will be just as exciting to watch as it is to ride.
The Minturn Bike Park opened last year and set the stage for this style of bike racing to be part of the GoPro Mountain Games. The Vail Valley Foundation and GoPro have partnered with the City of Minturn, Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance and Strait Acres to create this exciting new event.
Strait Acres is owned by a couple of professional cyclists, Kyle and Rachel Strait. Kyle was putting the finishing touches on the course while Rachel looked after their 15 month old daughter.
“The bike park team really did a great job creating the footprint, and then Kyle just puts his little touches into it,” said Rachel Strait.
Based in Alpine, CA, a small town east of San Diego, Rachel and Kyle grew up in Southern California and were professional racers for most of their lives.
“Kyle turned pro when he was 16, and I turned pro when I was a little older. He goes to the Red Bull Rampage event every year and was the first to win that event twice, and he is the only athlete to have participated in all of them. He is crazy!” said the strait. “I keep waiting for the day when he says, ‘Yeah, baby, I think I’m done’, but he’s not slowing down.”
This will be the first trip from the straits to the GoPro Mountain Games. The Straits will be joined by other top talent on the dual slalom circuit.
“We will have Bubba Warren here, Tommy Zula, who is the world pump track champion, will be there. And Collin Hudson is a very fast runner from Colorado,” Strait said.
The best runners will also be present.
“Look out for world pump track champion Kialani Hines and Jordy Scott is a really fast runner from Utah so it’s going to be a good competition,” Strait said.
The first prize money will be distributed, which is important for the strait.
“Our goal is to make sure we give back to the runners because without the runners you would have nothing, so it was really cool that the Vail Valley Foundation understood our vision and was able to come up with some really great cash prizes for this event,” Strait said.
The men’s and women’s pro/open divisions boast a $12,000 purse. Pro riders will be here as well as amateurs, so expect to find a few locals in the mix as well.
The qualifying rounds take place on Tuesday, then the qualifying rounds and finals end on Wednesday. The runners will be there all day and there will be plenty of places to attend. After the awards show at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, stick around for a free concert at the Little Beach Amphitheatre, which is near Minturn Bike Park at 7 p.m.
For more information on the 20th Annual GoPro Mountain Games and the GoPro Dual Slalom, visit MountainGames.com.