KAYSVILLE -- This week, top local riders will clip in to compete against some of the best pro racers in cycling during "America's toughest stage race," the Tour of Utah.
The Tour, which consists of five stages plus a prologue, will cover 325 miles in six days with 30,000 feet of climbing.
Kaysville resident Nate Page will be doing more than just spinning his wheels, he'll be supporting his RideClean team leader Matt Cooke and riding for the red jersey, or Best Utah Rider, which he won last year.
"Yeah I hope to repeat it. It's not going to be easy, but we'll see. I've got a couple other teammates that are teammates throughout the rest of the year, competing on that Utah All-Stars team too. I'd like myself to win it, and if not I'd like to see one of my teammates win it."
A recent University of Utah graduate in finance, Page works a full-time job at Western Investments LLC and rides between 15 to 24 hours a week covering about 400 miles in his longer weeks. He's a Category 1 cyclist, which all Tour of Utah racers have to be, and during most of the season races with Mi Doule, a Utah club that races criterium and Utah Cycling Association series races.
Page,26, is modest about winning the red jersey last year, and said his win ranks as his best accomplishment during his twelve years of cycling.
"Winning (best Utah rider) was one of the biggest things because just to be able to race in a big professional race and to be able to say you could do well among Utah riders, that was pretty good. Last year's win was a pretty big thing," said Page.
Cycling is a dual nature sport -- a team sport with individual winners emerging only because of their teams. Page will be working for the red jersey, but his loyalty lies with the team. He said he'll use his strength, climbing, to support Cooke in the toughest portions of the race.
"The whole point of the team is to make sure their guy that's going for the win is protected from the wind the whole day," said Page.
With climbs that include Old Snowbasin Road, Big Mountain, Mount Nebo, and Snowbird, climbing will be a top determiner in the Tour of Utah. Cyclists like the 5-foot-11, 152-pound Page, with smaller frames and tons of power will dominate these stages and emerge as overall winners.
Page and his amateur team will be facing tough competition from some of the toughest pros in cycling.
"There's really nothing fun about it," said Page, laughing. "A lot of top professional teams come here, so it's just a super fast race. For us local guys we do this for fun; we don't have any pro contracts and we're racing against guys who do this for a living, so it's pretty tough. But it's fun."
The Tour of Utah is a National Racing Circuit race with pro cyclists such as Floyd Landis of Team Ouch, Oscar Sevilla and Francesco Mancebo of Rock Racing listed among the competitors. Utah pro riders, Jeff Louder of team BMC, last year's overall winner, and David Zabriskie of Garmin Slipstream will also be among the top competitors.
Races start on Tuesday with a prologue time trial race in Salt Lake City. The first stage of the race will begin on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the base of Ogden Canyon.