Desert Classic is Saturday

Organizers accept riders up to morning of race

Desert Classic is SaturdayThe Ridgecrest Desert Classic — a popular cycling competition that draws riders of all ages from near and far — will once again be staged Saturday, Nov. 16, starting in the Cerro Coso Community College parking lot.

The High Sierra Cyclists, with the support of the local business community, are organizing the event for the eighth consecutive year. New entries are welcome right up until the morning of the race (for online registration and payment, visit

Male and female competitors can choose from four courses of different lengths and technical difficulties.

The Classic Loop is the shortest at 8.2 miles and the least difficult. This race starts at 9:50 a.m.

Next in difficulty, starting a bit earlier at 9:30 a.m., is the Beginner Course, which is 16 miles long and includes a descent down the ridgeline to the east of the college.

The Sport Course at 21 miles in length adds more difficult terrain, while the Expert/Pro Course is 27 miles long and runs through the infamous “Fun House” with twists and turns through a boulder-strewn landscape.

Chuck Jenkins, former Ridgecrest resident and professional racer, will return for this Ridgecrest Desert Classic with several of the high-school mountain bike teammembers he coaches in Hyde Park, Utah. Jenkins and HSC member Matt Johnson revived the original RDC, an event that ran for 10 years.

A mini-race for youngsters 12 and younger will begin at 1 p.m. in the parking lot. Each participant will need a bike and a helmet to compete.

For the first time, the event will also offer competition for unicycles. World Champion Ben Soja, hailing from Austria, will compete on the Expert Course, while a shorter three-mile course is also offered for mountain unicycles or “MUnis.”

Anyone interested in fol- lowing the event live on the internet can go to the event website to see overall and class times as well as updates in the “Live Text” section. “Or better, come up to the college to watch!” said a spokesperson.

The racers take off in groups from the start line, and the event announcer keeps spectators posted when they return, sometimes wheel to wheel, for that final dash across the finish line.

Pictured: Amanda Felder, who won the Women’s Pro Class last year. — Photo courtesy of Rick Schofield

Story First Published: 2019-11-15