PORT GAMBLE — Brian Kilpatrick hadn’t been on a bicycle for almost a decade when he started to prepare for the 2012 Stottlemeyer 30-mile Mountain Bike Race.
Kilpatrick, a 43-year-old Poulsbo resident, finished the men’s 40-49 age division in 24th in three hours, six minutes, 14.8 seconds. Not bad, considering it takes professional mountain bikers about four-and-a-half hours or more to finish the 60-mile race. That’s more than four hours with a heart rate of 180, race organizer Roger Michel.
This year, Kilpatrick’s hoping for a top 10 finish. “I’m younger now than I was 10 years ago," Kilpatrick said, laughing, April 29.
Kilpatrick is one of nearly 400 participants signed up for the Stottlemeyer 30/60-mile Mountain Bike Race, May 11. The race was more than 90 percent full April 29, with 30 out of 400 spots remaining, according to the race website.
The race begins in the fields just outside of Port Gamble, on Pope Resources land, where the radio-controlled airplane runway is located. Riders take either two or four laps around the trails, depending on which race they enter.
This year, the field of competitors includes Bellingham’s Logan Wetzel, the 2012 Stottlemeyer 60 champ who also placed third in the 2012 Washington State Cyclocross Championship and the Seattle Cyclocross Series. Michel said riders from 16 states are registered.
The Pope trails have a mix of downhill and uphill, different tree growth and open space, Kilpatrick said. The trails also have plenty of obstacles, such as roots, to add to the challenge.
The more a rider is accustomed to single-track trails, the better off they will be.
“Some of the people not used to riding technical trails will have their work cut out [for them],” Michel said. “That’s why [the Stottlemeyer 30/60] is so popular, because people want that challenge.”
Michel said any rider, no matter the skill level, is “lucky” to finish without some kind of setback.
Michel said the scenery is another aspect of the race that riders will enjoy.
“Beautiful Northwest trails,” he said. “You really feel like you’re ‘out there’ — not just in a small park where you will run into a paved road or a housing development … You feel like you could be in the Olympic [mountains].”
The Stottlemeyer is one race in the three-part NW Epic Series. The other races are the Echo Valley 30/60, June 8 near Lake Chelan; and the Capitol Forest 50/100 Endurance, Aug. 24 in Olympia.
Kilpatrick, and the majority of those registered, will compete in the 30-mile race. Michel said about 150 people registered for the 60-mile race. The 60-mile racers are typically people biking full-time, he said.
Though he’s out to finish in the top 10, Kilpatrick said he rides to challenge himself. He brings his children out to ride, and he rides to stay healthy and have fun, he said. He is also involved in Ride Kitsap, a group promoting the use and care of trails in the area.
Kilpatrick frequents the Pope Resource trails — going out three to four times per week — and said the trails are in “great condition.” Improvements to the trails will make this year’s race more enjoyable, with better drainage and less mud, and general trail maintenance; pesky scotch broom should not be an issue, he said.
Michel said the Stottlemeyer is also beneficial to North Kitsap’s economy. He estimated between 60-70 percent of riders and their families stayed the night before or after in the area in 2012. He estimated a total of 500-600 people were drawn to the area for the event, including volunteers.
In addition to bringing people to North Kitsap, money from each rider entry goes to the North Kitsap Trails Association, which has worked to build a regional system of land and water trails and promotes stewardship of natural resources. Michel said more than $2,000 will be donated this year to the trails association.
During the race, volunteers will assist with timing and will provide support at aid and food/beverage stations. Mechanical support will be provided by Full Speed Ahead.
Help out and see the race
— Get more than a front row seat to the action and volunteer at the Stottlemeyer 30/60. Organizers are recruiting volunteers; help is particularly needed for the noon to 5 p.m. shift.
— Volunteers help with timing, handing out food and drinks, and rendering aid.
— To volunteer, contact Roger Michel, roger@ 4thdimensionracing.com.