A new biking competition is riding into Rim Country.
The Cyclocross season kicks off at 10 a.m., Sept. 28 in Rumsey Park followed by a second race Nov. 16. The race is part of the Arizona State Championship New Amsterdam Consulting Cyclocross Series.
Race sponsor Mick Wolf, owner of Hike, Bike and Run, said six race categories are open for men, women and juniors.
The races run from 25 to 55 minutes long through a one-mile course that meanders throughout the park.
A cyclists’ skill and endurance is put to the test as they go up and down steep hills, through mud pits and over obstructions, requiring them to carry their bike.
“It is called the hardest hour of cycling,” Wolf said. “They have to dismount their bike and there is a real skill to getting off and on.”
One lap typically takes five to six minutes to complete. The rider who completes the most laps in the allotted time is the winner. First prize in most categories is $35.
Wolf said 80 percent of the course is dirt, with the trail as wide as two parking spaces to allow for passing.
Because of the dirt course, most riders use a lightweight bicycle similar to a road bike with drop handlebars, but with skinny knobby tires, cantilever brakes and higher, stronger frames to traverse the muck.
For spectators watching the riders fall and get muddy is exciting to watch, Wolf said.
Most cyclocross racers are road riders who compete in the off-season to improve their road handling skills, but the race is open to everyone.
Wolf hopes to see a turnout of 25 to 50 cyclists at the first race.
To register, go to www.azcross.com or call Wolf at (928) 478-6918. Online registration ends Sept. 21 at 12:30 a.m. The entry fee is $25 per racer, but free for juniors.
Master Men 35-plus, 35 minutes starts at 10:30 a.m.
Men Category 4, 35 minutes starts at 10:30 a.m.
Men Category 3/4, 40 minutes starts at 11:10 a.m.
Women Open, 40 minutes starts at 11:55 a.m.
Juniors, 25 minutes starts at noon.
Men Open, 55 minutes starts at 12:50 p.m.