The first race of the Intermountain Cup mountain bike racing series kicked off this past Saturday, March 4, in southwest Utah. A warm, sunny day welcomed hundreds of riders of all ages and ability levels to the staging area with a start/finish line near “The Gap,” just west of St. George.
Much of the race course lies on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management St. George Field Office in an area designated as a Competitive Use Area just outside of the Red Bluff Area of Critical Environmental Concern
(ACEC). The Desert Rampage is one of two annual events authorized through Special Recreation Permits here.
The course follows a large, 7-mile loop consisting of two climbs and two descents through rocky desert terrain. Riders were divided into separate categories requiring varying race distances based on age and ability; beginning mountain bikers rode one lap of the course while their professional counterparts rode four laps. Each category had its own respective start time, with the two main race starts occurring at 10:00am and 12:00 noon.
Most participants were happy to spend a sunny spring day enjoying their favorite sport and the camaraderie of fellow bicyclists.
Unfortunately, a more somber mood prevailed near the end of the event when a racer crashed on a downhill section of the course. Emergency medical services were dispatched to the scene, with ambulances and a “Life Flight” medical helicopter arriving quickly to treat and evacuate the injured racer.
As winter weather gives way to warm spring days, this is an important reminder to make safety a top priority as you enjoy the variety of outdoor activities that southwest Utah has to offer. Making sure that you are equipped with appropriate equipment and knowledge can make the difference between a good trip and an unfortunate one. Check out the BLM St. George Field Office recommendations to Know Before You Go! before heading out on your next outdoor adventure.