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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mountain bikers climb aboard for season of tough challenges

Rich Landers Outdoors editor

Mountain bikers are gearing up – and gearing down – for some gnarly competition in the Inland Northwest.

Following are some of the many upcoming reasons to ride:

“National Off-Road Bicycle Association National Championship 24-Hour Round the Clock Race, May 28-29, at the Seven Mile Airstrip in Riverside State Park. The event has categories for any type of rider, from novice to elite and individuals to teams of up to five riders.

Elite entries this year include Tinker Juarez, a Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee and three-time U.S. National Champion. Also entered is Chris Eatough, six-time World Solo Champion and winner of the last two 24-Hour National Championships at Riverside State Park.

Christina Begy, known for pedaling fast in her flowered miniskirt, is a pre-race favorite in the Solo Women’s division.

Info: www.roundandround.com.

“The WIM (Washington, Idaho, Montana) Race Series continues June 11 at Camp Sekani with the Beacon Bomber cross country race followed June 12 by the Beacon Bomber Downhill. The series, which started in March with the McMud Fest, will conclude June 25-26 with the WIM finals at Silver Mountain. Info: www.roundandround.com.

“The Heroes and Legends Thursday Night Mountain Bike Series starts 6:30 p.m., June 2 at Riverside State Park’s Seven Mile area and will alternate with the Beacon Hill venue at Camp Sekani. The series is designed to introduce newcomers to racing as well as a training opportunity for experienced racers. Races will not be held on June 23. Info: www.roundandround.com

“NORBA National Series Bicycle Race, July 14-17 at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, is expected to attract 1,200 athletes, including the world’s best off-road cyclists. The four-day competition consists of six events, including the cross country, downhill, short track, mountain cross, super D and the marathon.

Events are open to competitors of all ages and ability levels with the exception of the marathon, which is recommended for experienced, endurance athletes only. The marathon course will assault riders’ legs with 10,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain over 55 miles.

Schweitzer is known for some technical challenges, notably the downhill course, which has the occasional “cliff.” The feature known as Altar Boy is a 50-foot drop-off.

The Shimano Youth Race, set for July 16 on a much tamer course, is a free event for kids 12 and younger.

Info: www.active.com and www.schweitzer.com.

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