Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest Set for June 13-16
The Wilmington/Whiteface 100K (WW100) mountain bike race has been described by some as grueling, rugged, intense, ultra-challenging and by others as sadistic. But for the past two years, mountain bikers have been flocking to Wilmington, N.Y. to compete in this race and perhaps earn a qualifying spot in the prestigious Leadville 100 (LT100). On Sunday, June 16, cyclists will once again visit the upstate New York community, which sits in the shadows of the Olympic mountain, and try to tackle one of the most demanding LT100 qualifying events.
From start to finish, the WW100’s course is as varied as the cyclists competing from the eastern United States and Canada. The race both begins and ends at Whiteface Mountain, but in between, the 69-mile long race will take competitors up and down and twisting through jeep and gravel roads, back country trails as well as climbs that measure more than 750 meters each. All of this is before two, three-mile finishing loops and a pair of 350-foot climbs at Whiteface ahead of the finish line.
“This course has it all. I was challenged in so many ways. It was very similar to the LT100 course, but compressed into a shorter distance. This course is hard and serves up a variety of riding experiences, but if an athlete can do well at Wilmington, they are in a position to do well at the LT100,” said Rebecca Rusch, who won last year’s WW100. Rusch is also a three-time world champion endurance mountain biker and four-time Leadville 100 champion.
“It’s an excellent testing ground for your fitness, climbing ability and descending, with fast gravel roads, twisty singletrack, tight trees where you have to watch your handlebars, old carriage routes converted to bike trails that leave you grinning, plus the grand finale up Whiteface mountain that’s a super intense climb and descent… I hope to see you there.”
Awaiting the top cyclists will be a spot in LT100, the Holy Grail of mountain bike races. Between 70 and 100 spots will be awarded to the top three finishers in each division, while the remaining spots will be distributed based on performance and a lottery system. Racers who do come away with qualifications will have the opportunity to race in either this year’s LT100 or next year’s.
“This course is much like the course at Leadville: every kind of riding you can imagine all rolled up into one course that only a mountain bike can conquer. Pavement, gravel roads, wider forest paths and really fun but not overly technical singletrack trails will keep coming at you throughout this race,” noted David Wiens, a six-time LT100 champion. “Get into a group and hang on for a draft in the beginning or ride your own race. Either way, you’ll need every bit of that training you put in as this route ramps up in difficulty toward the end, beginning with the Hardy Road trails and giving you one final challenge in the Whiteface Mountain section that will bring you to the finish line. Pacing is key.”
Cyclists who may not be ready for the full WW100 can also compete in the newly added 50K event. Added to this year’s race, organizers hope that the 31-mile long race will attract more racers, who might someday race in the full 100K.
“The Town of Wilmington is excited that not only is the Leadville qualifier returning, but that the 50K race has also been added,” added Town of Wilmington supervisor Randy Preston. “This further enhances our bikefest weekend, which is turning into a fantastic, family fun filled weekend for the competitors and family alike.”
Both the 100K and 50K races are a part of the June 13-16 fourth annual Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest. The bikefest is designed to promote and showcase cycling opportunities in and around Wilmington.
This year’s festival will feature a beginner, instructional mountain bike program, the popular jump jam, a “poor man’s” downhill, beach party, food games, lives music, a “best calves” contest and the 12th annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race.
The uphill race, which is part of the northeast Bike Up the Mountain Points Series (BUMPS), will be contested on the morning of Saturday, June 15,which allows racers to compete in both events. The course takes cyclist 11 miles up the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway, a 3,500-foot climb to the summit of New York State’s fifth highest peak. To register for the Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, log onto www.bikereg.com.
“For a long time we considered ourselves the ‘hidden gem’ of cycling,” stated Preston. “I don’t think that we can consider us that anymore. The bikefest, uphill race and the WW100 have helped to establish this area as one of the premier cycling destinations anywhere.”
Registration is now available, https://register.bazumedia.com/reg/form?eventID=2181, for the Wilmington Whiteface 100K and 50K event.
The WW100 is the only LT100 qualifier in the northeast United States and is the third event in the four-race qualifying series. Other races that make up the Leadville Qualifying Series include the Austin Rattler, April 13; the Silver Rush 50 MTB, July13; and the Tahoe Trail 100K, July 20th. The Leadville 100 is slated for Aug. 10.
For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/WilmingtonBikeFest?ref=ts&fref=ts, or http://www.whitefaceregion.com/. Twitter #WWBikeFest.