Road Cycling

Weather set to create ‘epic dirt’ for Sylvan Island Stampede – Quad-City Times


This year FORC (Friends of Off-Road Cycling) will present the 13th running of the Sylvan Island Stampede.

GARY L. KRAMBECK

Brooklyn Draisey

Everything is coming together for the Friends of Off-Road Cycling Sylvan Island Stampede this weekend.

Expected rain during the week should give way to sunny skies Saturday and Sunday, creating what Friends of Off-Road Cycling Race and Event Director Mandy Griesenbeck called “epic dirt” — dry enough to avoid a muddy mess, but not so dry it’s silty. 

“I promised a lot of riders last year we wouldn’t have the mud pit we had,” Griesenbeck said. “So I think I’m going to be able to hold true to my promise.”

Cyclists will compete in the Sylvan Island Stampede April 10, racing on a 4-mile-long, single-track loop through forest and urban ruins. Griesenbeck said 157 people have signed up so far, and she’s expecting a jump in last-minute entries. Riders wishing to participate in the race must register by Thursday evening — same-day registration is not available. Number pickup will open at 7:45 a.m.

The sign-up fee is $30, and all proceeds from the event go to Friends of Off-Road Cycling, used to purchase materials and tools necessary for upkeep and improvement of local off-road bike trails. 

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Riders can register in different racing classes, from novice to expert, with some broken into different age groups. Awards will be given to the fast cyclists depending on the category, some of which are monetary. To learn more about registration and other aspects of the event, visit the Friends of Off-Road Cycling website.

The stampede officially opens the Illinois Homegrown Race Series and the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series.

“It should be one of our faster years,” Griesenbeck said. “The experts will really be hitting it hard and fast.”

In addition to races for adults of different experience levels, kids ages 9 and under can participate in a free race around a separate track. 

The weather did not cooperate as much in 2021, when riders were cycling through mud the whole time. Griesenbeck said people are thrilled to get out onto the unique trail on a good day. 

“We get a lot of excitement for this race because it is Sylvan Island, and the industrial feel of it,” she said. “It’s just kind of a different race course overall.”

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