CYCLING: Nevada City Dirt Classic, YBONC team up with USA Cycling
Special to The Union
For the seventh year in a row, Nevada County will host the Nevada City Dirt Classic Cross Country Mountain Bike Race, a three-part race open to riders of all levels.
Created in the late 1990s but ended in 2000, the Nevada City Dirt Classic race was resurrected by the Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County, a local organization dedicated to getting kids on bikes.
Jason Moeschler, a recently-retired professional mountain bike racer and local cyclist, said the Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County is extremely important for today’s youth.
“It was established so that every local kid could have this kind of opportunity,” he said. “They engage our area’s youth via school bike clubs, providing the necessary resources and supportive programs that the kids in our area need to access and successfully explore the world of cycling.”
The Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County (or YBONC) has worked to make the Dirt Classic one of the most popular, fun, and tough races in the Nevada County area. At four-plus miles with about 800-900 feet of elevation gain per lap, the three courses offer challenges for cyclists of all levels and ages. Riders’ fitness and finesse are tested in leg-burning switchbacks, craggy rock gardens, swooping downhills and steep singletrack and fireroad climbs. The races also offer beautiful views of the Nevada County scenery and the ability to connect with other local riders.
“These races are marvelous as they are small, local, and open to racers in a community vibe while being challenging and fun,” said local rider Anthony Pritchett, who competed in last year’s Dirt Classic. “It also provides you with a story to tell your friends on Monday at the office or at school.”
This year, YBONC is teaming up with USA Cycling, the United States’ leading mountain bike organization, to host the California Mountain Bike Cross Country State Championships. The Championships have been incorporated into the Dirt Classic races — riders accumulate points based on category and age group throughout the races, and the top three individuals with the most amount of points by the end of the series are the State Champions for their separate categories. The top 15 racers will be able to qualify for the National Mountain Bike Championships in Snowshoe, West Virginia — a huge honor and achievement for any rider.
Jet Lowe, long-time Nevada City resident and an integral part of YBONC and its affiliated organization (Bicyclists of Nevada County) for many years, said it is incredible they are working with USA Cycling.
“Planning began in November 2016 with submitting an application to host state or regional championships for USA Cycling, Inc,” she said. “Come January, we had that ‘ah ha moment’ (when we received an email) confirming the Nevada County Dirt Classic as awardee for 2017 USA Cycling California State Mountain Cross Country Championship races.”
Jason Moeschler, who assists YBONC with its programs and races, added, “Having a solid race series (like the Dirt Classic) allows us to attract cyclists from out of the area, which is good for the local economy and great for attracting tough competition — the kind you need to develop skills on the race course… and having a race series close to home here in Nevada County really helps families with saving money in travel to races that might be far away.”
Because of the race’s easy accessibility, its fun nature, and its ability to allow riders of all levels and ages to race, the Dirt Classic has become extremely popular within and outside the Nevada County area. Lowe, one of the founders of the race, said she is excited to see how it grows within the next few years. She and YBONC hope to see loyal racers and new racers this spring as races start. The first Dirt Classic race is scheduled for April 15 and registration is available online at Bikereg.com.
For more Nevada City Dirt Classic race series details and details on the Women’s MTB Skills Clinic & Camp, visit the website ybonc.org.
YBONC Foundation’s mission is to engage youths to the outdoors, promoting a positive and healthy lifestyle with the sport of cycling. We accomplish this by supporting school bike clubs and hosting a variety of bike related activities with our programs. For more, visit ybonc.org.
Mina Ricci is a member of the Nevada Union Mountain Bike Club and a Nevada County resident. She is a regular contributor to The Union.
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