Hunter Willis barrels down Emerald Mountain during last year's cross-country Town Challenge Series Race. Today's cross-country race course will be new to riders, series director Gretchen Sehler said. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. at Howelsen Hill.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hunter Willis barrels down Emerald Mountain during last year's cross-country Town Challenge Series Race. Today's cross-country race course will be new to riders, series director Gretchen Sehler said. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. at Howelsen Hill.

Town Challenge to hit Emerald Mountain

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If you go

What: Emerald Mountain cross-country mountain bike race

When: Children's races start at 5:28 p.m.; adult heats begin at 6 p.m.

Where: Race starts behind Howelsen Lodge

Other: Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

— The third Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series race begins today on an old stalwart with a new twist.

For the third race of the series, riders will climb and descend Emerald Mountain in a cross-country competition.

Although a lot of the terrain and trails will be similar to ones of years past, Town Challenge series director Gretchen Sehler said today's course layout will be new to everyone.

"It's somewhat of a technical ride," Sehler said. "Knowing where you're going is important. I've never done this exact course before."

Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. behind the Howelsen Lodge. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

The children's portion of the race begins at 5:28 pm. Pro and expert riders will start at 6 p.m. and go off in two-minute intervals. All sport and men's novice racers will go off 20 minutes after the pros and experts have left.

The pro and expert course is 10.5 miles, while the sport and men's course is 9 miles.

The course will climb and descend trails all across Emerald. It eventually will end up on Bluff's Loop for the finish.

"To me, Emerald is my favorite place to put on a race just because you have so many options," Sehler said. "It's never the same race course over there. You might race certain sections the same, but I never tie it together the same."

Sehler said the conditions and singletrack on Emerald are in as good a condition as she has ever seen.

With the recent rain and trail maintenance, Sehler said the trails are in near-perfect shape.

"It's riding as well as it ever rides," she said.

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