Biking race returns to Wilmington

— For mountain bikers who like high elevation racing on the most rugged of terrain, the Leadville Trail 100 is the holy grail. As one of the most well-known mountain bike races, getting into the Leadville Trail 100 has always been difficult.

One way to get in is by racing in one of the six 2012 LT100 Qualifiers across the country, each offering 100 total qualifying starting positions. Once again, Wilmington will host one of the qualifying events, the Wilmington/Whiteface 100 (WW100), Sunday, June 17.

“The Town of Wilmington is extremely excited to host the Wilmington/Whiteface 100 once again,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said. “I think that our race course is the most diverse course in the Leadville Qualifier Series. We have added more mileage this year going onto the fifth Town. This will make it unique and a true ‘Adirondack’ event.”

As the only LT 100 qualifier in the Northeast, the WW100 will coincide with the annual Whiteface/Wilmington Bike Fest. The race will start and finish at Whiteface Mountain and weave its way through jeep roads, back country tails, Jay and Saddleback mountains and through the towns Wilmington, Jay, Lewis, Elizabethtown and Keene before a grueling 2,501-feet climb awaits the racers at Whiteface ahead of the finish line.

“There’s something there for everyone,” LT 100 qualifying series technical director David Weins, a six-time LT 100 champion, said. “From single track, rugged back country roads, gravel and dirt roads, not to mention the climbs and decants, this course is going to offer a significant challenge, perhaps similar to the LT 100 itself.”

Between 70 to 100 qualifying spots into the Leadville Trail 100 will be up for grabs, and organizers hope that this combined with all of the activities surrounding the Wilmington Bike Fest will bring even more cyclists to the region.

Through March 18, registration for the Wilmington/Whiteface 100 is $95 for the general public and $85 for Life Time members. Life Time employees can enter the race for $75. Price will increase by $10 after March 18.

The top three cyclists in each division will receive awards and one qualifying slot will be given to the top male and female single speed finishers, while one more spot will be awarded to the top tandem team. The remaining LT 100 spots will be distributed based on performance and a lottery system.

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