SANDY -- Snowbird saw some serious biking action Saturday as riders competed in three races that ended at the same point throughout the day.
Starting as early as 6 a.m., 650 Utah riders began their assault in the 1000 Warriors race, from Park City to Snowbird, mimicking the 96 miles that Tour of Utah riders would ride later that day. Riders were also able to compete in the 31st annual bicycle climb, a 10-mile ride up the canyon starting at 8 a.m.
"It was extremely painful," said 1000 Warriors third-place winner Cody Rasmussen of Murray. "Brutal."
Lucas Binder, a Berkeley, Calif., resident who came to Utah for the Tour of Utah originally but didn't meet the time cutoff on the first day, won the 1000 Warriors race.
"It was a great race with nice descents and really great weather. I can't wait to see the pros," he said.
The 1000 Warriors race is a competition that invites entrants to contribute to scholarships to Children of Wounded Warriors. This year, race organizer Rick Bennett also invited five Marine Purple Heart recipients to use the race as a rehabilitation training goal.
The marines flew in from North Carolina to race the brutal race and the local Marine Corps League was on hand to cheer for them.
"We're here to support our fellow marines," said Mike Lambourne, commandant.
The race was marred by an accident that wounded five riders when a car braked suddenly in front of them.
Three hours later, the pros rode up the devastating final ascent into cheering crowds. Alex Howes, a young up-and-coming rider, broke away from the pack to win the Stage 4 of the five-stage Tour. Francisco Mancebo maintained his yellow jersey with a quick surge up the final six miles, even after being misdirected on the course.
Nate Page, last year's fastest Utah rider, and a Kaysville resident, helped his RideClean teammate Matt Cooke to a strong finish and said he felt the heat today. Temperatures soared into the high nineties.
"It was just kind of survival," said Page. "Some of the top contenders, they're fast, and if you come unhitched from them you just kind of have to ride in and survive. So that's kind of what today was about."
Jeff Louder, a Salt Lake City pro leads the Utah rider standings in the race, but Page is working on maintaining his lead as the fastest amateur.
Today's stage will end the grueling race as riders compete in a 90-minute criterium race in downtown Salt Lake beginning at 2 p.m.
Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Nigbur says the crash happened on State Road 92.
At least two cyclists hit the back of the black SUV, he said, and three crashed trying to avoid the vehicle.
In addition to the cyclist who was critically injured, police say two others were hospitalized and were in poor condition.
The other two cyclists involved were treated at the scene.
Nigbur said the accident remained under investigation.