Treasure Valley mountain biking and trail running enthusiasts of all ages and abilities soon will have a new reason to love Boise. An eight-week biking and running race series will take place at Bogus Basin beginning in June.
Boise’s vast network of trails, agreeable weather and easy access to the outdoors give the city great potential to provide a robust community for competitive bikers and trail runners. But the options for racing in the Treasure Valley are limited at best.
Paul McNeil, director of the Bogus Basin Nordic Center and part of Bogus’ Summer Event Team, saw this hole and wanted to fill it. McNeil’s mission is to create and support a participation-driven community racing series that can enhance the mountain biking and trail running communities in the Boise area.
“We want to create opportunities for beginning racers all the way to elite racers,” McNeil said. “The races will emphasize fun, clean racing and good sportsmanship. Our goal is to provide a low-key, friendly race environment for residents of the Treasure Valley where everyone has an opportunity to compete.”
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The mountain bike race series will feature an Olympic-style 4- to 6-kilometer loop with options for a one-, two-, three-, or four-lap race. The one-lap race is catered to new riders at a beginner race level, two-lap racers are intermediate, and three- and four-lap racers are expert to pro level. Racers will self-select their category and will have the option to change classes from race to race.
The race track will contain single- and double-track trails and incorporate natural features that are part of the trail system at Bogus. McNeil says mountain bikers may have options of lines (a quicker but more difficult route vs. a slower route of easier riding) to take through some of the sections on the course. The mixed terrain helps create an even playing field for all types of riders, McNeil said.
Trail runners will have the option of a 2.5km or 5km mass start race. Two courses will be alternated through the season to keep things interesting and also will incorporate the natural features of Bogus’ trail system.
The mountain biking and trail running race nights will offer a free, fun race for kids 8 years old and under.
“While these races provide training opportunities for serious racers,” McNeil says, “the structure of them is also great for a first-time racer.”
McNeil suggests that first-time racers start in the easiest class and work their way up as they get more comfortable in the racing environment.
In an effort to make the race series accessible to everyone, McNeil is prioritizing keeping both cost and time commitment low. Registration is $60 for the entire eight-week season and includes a custom number plate that racers can use for each event. Day-of-entry fees are priced up to $10 per race, depending on age.
The midweek races provide a chance for amateur athletes who don’t normally compete to try their hand at racing without dedicating too much time to it while juggling work and other responsibilities. McNeil sees this as a chance to grow the great community of athletes that already exists in Boise.
“Participants can come up and race after work, and if a family comes up, everyone can race,” McNeil said. “There will be no weekly awards, just online results. Since it’s midweek, we want to keep the events to just a few hours.”
Race results will be broken up by age category and posted online at bogusbasin.org after each event. Instead of weekly awards, participation-based awards will be handed out after the last race at an end-of-season party.
McNeil ran a similar race series in Vermont on a much larger scale and has used that model to create the idea for the race series at Bogus Basin.
“The race structure and format worked very well and it really brought the community together,” he said of his experience in Vermont. “We need to create this opportunity for people in the Treasure Valley. We really have the opportunity here to create a destination.”
Ian Fitzpatrick, owner of Cycle Right MTB Clinics, says the idea of a race series at Bogus Basin could fill a gap in the community since not many racing opportunities are allowed in the Foothills due to trail-use policy.
“I feel the race policy in the Foothills is really restrictive,” he said. “The community could definitely benefit from some cool local racing events.”
Trail running races will take place every Tuesday evening from June 19 to Aug. 14, while mountain bike races will be Wednesday evenings of those same weeks. Both race nights will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Bogus Basin Simplot Lodge.
Registration for the Bogus Basin summer mountain bike and trail running series begins May 14 at webscorer.com. Contact email@example.com with questions.
Lettie Stratton is an avid cyclist, Nordic ski instructor and freelance writer.