Caleb Bender speeds through the wildflowers in Rick’s Basin in the third of four local races this summer. Caleb, a middle schooler, took the series win in the combined team/solo sport category.

114 individual mountain bike racers, 4 courses, 39 miles, 6 hours of racing, dozens of volunteers, 6’ of social distance. The Inaugural Teton Dirt Series is in the books. Some raced for points, others for bragging rights, some raced their mountain bikes for the very first time. Months of dreaming, planning and organizing by Tony Ferlisi of Mountain Bike the Tetons and Andy Williams of Grand Targhee and the tenuous navigation of holding small events during a global pandemic came to fruition this past Wednesday evening at Grand Targhee Resort as the final race of the season winded down with Kurt Refsnider of Prescott, AZ crossing the finish line first in the Open Men’s category and Anya Shawback of Kalispell, MT not far behind, finishing first in the Open Women’s category. 47 more racers would follow, all scoring points counting toward the overall series championship while in-house Dirt Series DJ’s Track Loop Jesus spun tunes in the background.

A scaled down version of what was planned to be a much larger first-time local series was met with unprecedented enthusiasm this summer as registrations for the Big Hole Challenge in Horseshoe Canyon, the Mullet Relay Race in the Southern Big Holes and two fast and furious weeknight short-track loops at Grand Targhee Resort all sold out, often a full week in advance. The cancellation of regional National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) events, races such as Pierre’s Hole, the Carriboo Jack and others this summer can be credited with much of the series’ early success as start lists and podiums were stacked with Teton Valley Composite, Jackson Hole Youth Cycling and local bike shop team members all season long. Although a Jackson event, a min-enduro, an XC marathon, post-race beers and bbq’s or 100-person mass starts were not in the cards this year, participants were more than respectful and adherent of all city, county and state health, mask and social-distancing ordinances, especially if it meant getting to race their bikes.

“We really wanted to make this series approachable for folks from a cost and logistical standpoint and meaningful to seasoned racers at the same time” said Tony Ferlisi, race director and Executive Director of Mountain Bike the Tetons. “Feedback throughout this tricky season has been exceedingly positive and we’ve gotten some really constructive input from racers too, which we’re excited to implement down the road. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and Andy Williams’ commitment to making this concept a reality, especially during a pretty unprecedented time, we were able to pull this thing off. We’re really looking forward to getting our top overall series finishers their prizes in the next week and to start planning the second go-round of the series for 2021.”

Congratulations to all who raced this summer and to overall top series finishers and stay tuned for updates on the 2021 series from Mountain Bike the Tetons and Grand Targhee Resort in the coming months.

2020 Teton Dirt Series Overall Top FinishersWomen’s Solo Open Category

1. Lindsay Nohl

2. Robin McGee

3. Courtney Merrill

Women’s Solo Sport Category

1. Rebekah Donley

2. Crystal Wright

3. Kelly Biscombe

Women’s Solo Beginner Category

1. Erin Kromis

2. Salim Jacoby

3. Ella Voigt

Women’s Combined Team/Solo Open Category

1. Becca Parkinson

2. Jessica Robinson

3. Robin Lyons

Women’s Combined Team/Solo Sport Category

1. Lacey Vandebunte

2. Laila Borich

Men’s Solo Open Category

1. Arden Jacoby

2. Ian Hosek

3. Asher Jacoby

Men’s Solo Sport Category

1. Zach Huseby

2. Hayden Wieloh

3. Dan Powers

Men’s Solo Beginner Category

1. Sam Bender & Hans Holbrook

2. Simon Karroum

3. Grant Rogers

Men’s Combined Team/Solo Open Category

1. Jacob Hora

2. Carl Osterberg

3. Will Stubblefield

Men’s Combined Team/Solo Sport Category

1. Caleb Bender

2. Phillip Beck

3. Khristian Beck

Women’s Team Open Overall

1. MTN Lab (Becca Parkinson, Robin Lyons, Jessica Robinson, Courtney Merrill)

Women’s Team Sport Overall

1. Double Trouble (Daisha Jacoby, Isabel Warner)

2. MTN Lab (Lacey Vandebunte, Cait Berelec, Lisa Brown)

3. Wright Training (Rebekah Donley, Crystal Wright, Tori Lindskog, Celeste Young)

Men’s Team Open Overall

1. Track Loop Jesus (Bernard Foyer, Boogie Wonderland, John Walker)

Men’s Team Sport Overall

1. Team Beck (Khristian Beck, Phillip Beck)