Mountain Bike Festival brings adrenaline junkies to Girdwood
The warmest days of the year have passed, but there is still plenty of summer fun to be had in Girdwood. This weekend, the Alyeska Resort hosted the Mountain Bike Festival, which includes a number of races and events for adventure seekers.
Sunday, a focal point of the day was the Enduro race, which featured two legs, each with a downhill and uphill segment. The uphill portion is untimed; the downhill part is where bikers try to go as fast as possible.
“[It’s] a little more speed, a little more fun,” said mountain biker Hunter McConnel, who had been biking throughout the weekend for the festival with his wife, Jenny McConnel.
“Three days in a row is a lot,” said Jenny McConnel.
The Girdwood couple said mountain biking has steadily become more popular. Jenny McConnel volunteers to help train other women how to master the sport.
“It’s been a success. I think this year, we have more women on the mountain than any of the other years,” she said.
Rain created much wetter conditions on the trails compared to earlier days, making it easier to crash. However, Jenny McConnel said taking a tumble in Alyeska is gentler than most other places.
“Look at all these bushes,” she said. “It’s a soft landing for the most part.”
The McConnels said their attraction to the sport goes beyond the adrenaline rush — there is a strong camaraderie among the other riders.
“We’re all just here to have a good time,” said Jenny McConnel.
The festival concludes Monday with the Vertical Challenge, a competition to cover the most vertical feet during the day. The winner in both the men’s and women’s divisions will win a bike pass to Alyeska for the summer of 2017. Monday is also the final day the chair lift is open to the public for mountain biking.
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