This is the second of three Northwest Cup events set on the North Olympic Peninsula, but this week’s the biggie. And for the first time ever, the public officially is invited to the party. In addition to the race, the mountain bike movie "Strength in Numbers" will be shown on Friday, and there will be shuttle service to the track for spectators.
Shuttle Service to Event
Shuttle service is important because Dry Hill has very limited parking. Normally there’s barely enough room for the participants to park, but this weekend with a record amount of riders expected, that means even less parking than normal will be available. “This is the first time we have shuttle service because we don’t have a ton of room for parking, and we want to include the community,” Dry Hill race co-founder and co-director Casey Northern said. “We would like to give the community a chance to see what it’s all about.”
World Cup Caliber Riders and Course
This is a good time to see competitive mountain biking up close and personal, fellow co-founder and co-director Scott Tucker added. More than 100 pros are expected this week, but more importantly, many World Cup-caliber riders — including champions and former champions — are expected as well. Normally, World Cup-caliber competitors don’t ride in non-World Cup events, Tucker said. “Our timing helps draw the World-Cup riders. They come here because we race before the World Cup season begins. They use the track as a good training ground.” The Dry Hill course is one of the few in the country that is up to World-Cup standards. “The track brings Scott and I a lot of pride. We seemed to hit the nail on the head with our trail building,” Northern said.
In addition to the shuttle service, there will be a food-vending truck (Bighorn Barbecue of Port Angeles) and a coffee-vending truck at the track for spectators and participants. The shuttle service and vending trucks will be operating Saturday and Sunday only. The shuttle service will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at Adventures Through Kayaking and Harbinger Winery, 2358 U.S. Highway 101 West. The two firms, in the same building, are located about 2 miles west of Albertsons in Port Angeles. The van shuttle will leave every 30 minutes to and from Dry Hill. The cost is $5 for a round-trip.
Tucker and Northern are expecting some of the pros to start arriving Wednesday and more pros and amateur racers hitting the area Thursday and Friday for practice runs. There will be 300 amateur racers in addition to the 100-plus pros. A cap of 300 was put on amateurs to keep the event manageable and give plenty of time for practice runs. The cap for amateurs was reached a week or so ago. “We have filled up with amateurs the last three years,” Tucker said.
But the real party will be Friday night at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles. The public is invited to the mountain bike national kickoff party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is the first time the public has received an invitation to this event. Friday’s function will include the premiere of the mountain biking movie “Strength in Numbers,” a raffle, no-host bar and food will be available. Tickets to the party and movie cost $10 and include raffle tickets. To get a look at the movie, get on YouTube and type in the name of the film.
Racing starts Saturday afternoon with two hours of qualifying runs before Sunday's main event. Racing on Sunday begins at 9 am.
Another bonus for the races this weekend: The weather is supposed to be sunny and nice. “The weather will be perfect,” Northern said.
A perfect weekend all the way around.