Santa Clara hosts True Grit Epic Mountain Bike RaceThe True Grit Epic Mountain Bike Race will be held March 11, leading bikers through miles of trails in the hills southwest of Santa Clara. The race begins at 10 a.m. in downtown Santa Clara.

The event includes distances of 50 and 100 miles and is expected to attract 76 professionally supported athletes and more than 400 amateur mountain biking enthusiasts.

“True Grit has become the premier early season mountain bike race in the country,” said Cimarron Chacon, president and race director of Gro Promotions. “With a strong lineup of world class pros, an unbelievably difficult course, and the spectacular scenery, it is an event you don’t want to miss.”

This year’s races are expected to entice approximately 500 participants, an increase of approximately 25 percent from 2016. A significant reason for the bump, Chacon said, is that more local riders are gearing up for the challenge this year.

“It is going to be exciting to watch many of our local racers taking on this event for the first time,” she said. “Many are even competing in the 100-mile option.”

The largest percentage of race participants come from outside the area. Chacon said that in past years approximately 90 percent of the participants resided outside Washington County. A year ago, five countries and 37 states were represented.

“Mountain bike riders migrate to the St. George area for the incredible single track trails, the outstanding events we host, and the gorgeous landscapes in our region,” said Kevin Lewis, director of the St. George Area Sports Commission. “For an MTB enthusiast, it’s all pretty tempting. After a cold winter, an adrenaline-filled race like this is just what the doctor ordered.”

Chacon said the public is invited to gather at the finish line between 1 and 5 p.m. Bailey Carter, winner of Dixie’s Got Talent, will sing the national anthem. There will be live music from Family Tradition and a beer garden.

Santa Clara Drive will have two brief closures March 11 from 7 to 7:15 a.m. and 8:30 to 9 a.m.

The late registration period goes through March 10 and can be completed online. There is no race-day registration.

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