The rumors are true! The Banana Belt is back and better than ever! Saturday, September 14. That’s this Saturday!
People who’ve been in Chaffee County a few years know that the Banana Belt has been a post-Labor Day tradition in Salida for a long time. First run in the late 80′s and for every year through 2007, the Banana Belt Loop Race was a rite of passage between the summer tourist season and the sweet, crisp autumn when Salida cools down, slows down and gets mellow. It’s a classic race course, starting on the F-Street Bridge, up the Bear Creek Road, across the Rainbow Trail to CR108, down and back east to the Race Track Trail and then along the railroad tracks back to downtown. It’s 26 miles with 3,000 feet of cumulative climbing. It’s not too hard, not too soft–just right. But it’s a little different and a little more exciting this year. In past years the course used the powerline road, but now we have the Little Rainbow! More singletrack!
After the race there’s going to be a party sponsored by the Arkansas Valley Libation Society. There will be locally crafted beer and mixed drinks from Wood's High Mountain Distillery. And the No Name Band will be playing in the band shell. The party will be a benefit for Salida Mountain Trails. Racers will get a free drink and a meal, for everyone else there will be a reasonable fee for purchasing Colorado’s finest adult beverages and a kickin’ band making it all the more fun!
We will be pouring Elevation Brewery First Cast IPA, Amicas Gin Basket Wit (a belgian style white ale infused with gin botanicals from Woods High Mountain Distillery) and Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub's Porter. We will also have limeaid-gin mixed drinks made with Treeline Gin from Woods High Mountain Distillery.
It's only $35 to enter, but that goes up to $50 if you wait until Saturday! You'll get a cool t-shirt, lunch, and a free beverage (soft drinks for under-21, beer, mixed drink or soft drink for 21 and over). To register for the race, go to bananabeltloop.com and use one of the links to either fill out a paper form and send in a check or register on-line. A special triple crown option is available: register for the Friday night chainless race, Banana Belt and Monarch Crest Crank for the low, low price of $100.
This year the Banana Belt has the privilege of being part of Salida’s Bike Fest Weekend. There are activities all week, including a mixer at the Steam Plant with a speaker on Wednesday starting at 5 PM, the chainless race off S-Mountain on Friday, the spectacular Monarch Crest Crank on Sunday, films, fun rides, and more. Check the schedule at salidabikefest.com and come out with your friends to enjoy the fun!
Come on out and race, or come on over and party. If you’d like to volunteer to help out, we’ll set you up with a t-shirt, a free libation and a free meal just like the racers get. Contact Salida Rec at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One way or another, plan to be part of a fun, mellow Salida tradition. See you there!
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