If you’ve ever wondered what people get out of mountain biking, now is your chance to find out.
According to the website, in the Downhill, “the best riders in the world will tackle one of the toughest courses in the United States in the first international competition of the year.”
Videos from last year’s Downhill give you a picture of just how tough Windrock is. Your reactions should range from “wow!” to “ouch!” Hurtling down the trail over rocks and tree roots while making hard turns and catching air is not for couch potatoes, or even most urban bikers. But you can’t help but admire and appreciate the daring and spirit of the men and women who race in these events.
Pre-race activities started Wednesday, but seeding of the Downhill cyclists takes place today, and the finals are on Saturday. The finish area and expo area are free to spectators, and passes to access the mountain for the entire weekend are $10.
Practice for the Enduro qualifier is Saturday, with the race on Sunday. The race will utilize both the bike park and Windrock’s OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) Park. Riders compete in a five-stage race with a mix of uplifts and climbs between stages.
Enduro cycling prides itself on good sportsmanship and teamwork, so it’s a great visual example for young spectators. But for young people who want to taste competition themselves, youth Downhill races will take place on Sunday on Windrock’s Green Trail at the same time as the Enduro. The races are open to U7 to age 14.
Past attendees insist that the Tennessee National will take your breath away. That sounds great, but don’t forget to take a jacket and wear sturdy shoes – the forecast calls for rain. Here’s the Windrock schedule:
Friday, March 8
9 a.m.-2 p.m. – Enduro/Amateur Downhill registration open
9-11:30 a.m. – Pro Downhill practice
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. – Amateur Downhill practice
2:15 p.m. – Pro Downhill seeding runs begin
2-5 p.m. – Enduro practice (uplifts)
5 p.m. – Red Bull Best Whip contest
Saturday, March 9
9 a.m.-12 p.m. – Enduro registration open
9 a.m.-11 a.m. – Amateur Downhill practice
11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Pro Downhill practice
12:30 p.m. – Downhill race start (awards start as soon as race ends)
12-5 p.m. – Enduro practice (uplifts)
Sunday, March 10
10 a.m. – Enduro start
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Next Gen Youth Race practice
12:30 p.m. – Youth Race riders meeting & race start
4 p.m. – Enduro race cutoff time
4:30 p.m. – Enduro awards
For other area outside activities, here is Outdoor Knoxville’s calendar for the next 10 days: