Riders gearing up for Butte 100

Montana’s elite endurance mountain bike race is gearing up for the seventh annual Butte 50- and 100-mile mountain bike races. The race weekend is set for July 27; the 100-mile race starting at 6 a.m. and the 50-mile race at 8 at Homestake Pass off Interstate 90.

Within 20 minutes of open registration, the 50-mile race reached the 160-racer capacity and the 100-mile race met its 90 racer maximum in just over four hours. Demand for the race far surpassed organizers expectations.

“We’re simply trying to put on the very best mountain bike race we can,” said Gina Evans, race director. “Having this kind of turn-out at registration, and seeing both waiting lists grow, proves that Butte can put on a world-class mountain bike race in a world class setting.”

Returning to defend his record smashing100-mile victory in 2012 (8:22:41) is David ‘Tinker’ Juarez (Sho-Air Cannondale Racing). The former Olympian, mountain bike world champion, and hall of fame member, will be chased by a deep field of past Butte 100 champions and podium finishers. Other racers looking to de-throne Juarez include John Curry (GAS Intrinsik), Ben Parsons (Sportsman & Ski Haus), Jesse Doll (Montanacyclocross), Matt Butterfield (Sportsman & Ski Haus) and Bill Martin (Muleterro).

Lisa Curry is the defending Butte 100 women’s champion.

The women’s century is highlighted by the defending champion, Lisa Curry (GAS Intrinsik) who set the female course record in 2012 with her winning time of 10:50:53.

This year’s course starts and finishes at Homestake Pass, and will take the 100 mile racers on a figure-eight course, on USFS and BLM managed land. The 100-mile racers start a 50-mile loop north of I-90, then join the 50-mile racers on the southern loop. The race remains know as one of the most demanding tests of mountain bike endurance racing in the country with an amount of climbing not seen anywhere else: 8,500 feet for the 50-mile racers and approximately 16,600 feet for the 100-mile racers. North loop highlights include single and double track trails through vastly different environs, from dense forest to the Pipestone area’s high-altitude desert. The south loop features the trails of Thompson Park and nearly 30 miles of Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

Race events get started on Thursday, July 26 with a packet pick-up at the Maroon Activities Center from 4 to 6 p.m. A second pick-up occurs on Friday 2 to 9 p.m. in conjunction with mandatory racer meetings scheduled for 6 p.m. at the MAC. The race’s award ceremony is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the race’s finish area at Homestake pass.

Other race-related events, as well as course and viewing information, can be found at butte100.com.

Note: This story was first posted on ButteSports.com on July 18.