By Teri Vance
When their boys were little, Brian and Katie McRae would pull them along in trailers behind their bikes before upgrading to a tagalong. When the boys outgrew that, Brian would wrap a rubber tube around their bike stems and tow them behind his own bike.
“Even when they were really little, they were doing big rides,” Katie said. “We always found a way to get it done even though it was slow going. We just wanted to all be together.”
But now the tables have turned.
“We’re the ones who get up early and rally them,” said Tobin, 15.
The family will be riding this weekend in Epic Rides’ inaugural Carson City Off-Road.
Tobin and his brother Connor, 16, both sponsored by Flume Trail Bikes for the race, will ride the 50-mile course.
“You’re doing all the really great trails in the Carson and Tahoe area all in one day,” Connor said. “It’s the most amount of fun you can pack in.”
The Carson City Off-Road will run Friday through Sunday and will offer a Pro Purse of $100,000 across all three events – the most significant cross-country mountain bike purse worldwide.
The race will feature three graduated distance course offerings, from professional to amateur, including the recently opened Ash to Kings Trail along west Carson City.
Brian and Katie will ride the 35-mile course.
“I’m doing the ride to enjoy the community and the trails and the beauty,” Katie said. “It’s not something I’m entering into with a competitive nature at all. I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Organizers are estimating that the race and activities around it will generate $1million to $1.5 million this year and draw at least 3,000 people to the area.
“I think this is going to be a huge event to bring awareness that we have a jewel here,” Katie said. “It’s going to put a spotlight on the fact that we have such a great biking community. It’s pretty darn cool.”
Epic Rides and Carson City have agreed to hold the event for five years as a start.
Although both boys will be in college by then, they plan to continue riding the event.
“The trails around here are really nice, especially with the awesome views of Lake Tahoe,” Connor said. “It would definitely be worth coming back for.”
The boys, who regularly ride the Ash to Kings Canyon Trail, have been adding distance in preparation for the race.
“We’ve been half training, half getting out and having fun,” Tobin said. “We’ve definitely been lengthening our rides. We take the fire road up to Spooner then ride from Kings to Ash Canyon then take the jack rabbit and deer trails back down to Carson.”
Not everyone is excited about the race, specifically the family’s Weimaraner, Bowler.
The biggest casualty of the day will probably be our dog,” Katie said. “He doesn’t get to come and he loves to be on the trail with us. We won’t have our little cheerleader with us.”
If you go:
WHAT: Epic Rides Carson City Off-Road
WHEN: Friday through Sunday
WHERE: Downtown Carson City
Mountain bike league started at Carson High School
While Connor and Tobin McRae are successful academically and play both the cello and violin, they remain focused on mountain biking. In an effort to get others involved, they are helping with the launch of the Nevada Interscholastic Cycling League.
The league works to establish and maintain safe, quality school mountain bike programs.
To learn more about the program or to donate, go to nevadamtb.org.