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August 8, 2013

Triathlon, mountain bike race this weekend at France Park

Superintendent says trails will be ready.

The mountain bikers, runners and swimmers tackling the trails and swimming lake for two events at France Park this weekend will have the chance to evaluate the park’s restoration efforts following a dirt bike and ATV race that sparked concerns over the trail system’s future.

A triathlon will be held starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the park and a mountain biking race will start at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Do Indiana Off-road, or DINO, and the Hoosier Mountain Biking Association, or HMBA, have been working with the park to organize these events since the early 1990s.

Brian Holzhausen, director of DINO, said Saturday’s triathlon will be made up of a half-mile swim, an eight-mile mountain bike race and a four-mile trail run.

The course for Sunday’s mountain bike race is eight miles, with advanced cyclists doing multiple laps. Holzhausen said he is expecting about 130 to 150 participants for the triathlon and about 200 for the mountain bike race.

Paul Arlinghaus, president of the HMBA, said France Park stands out among mountain biking venues in the area.

“That terrain offers something unique,” Arlinghaus said. “A lot of northern Indiana is very flat without a lot of terrain for more technical mountain bike trails.”

On-site registration for the triathlon will be available from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the park and the morning of the race Saturday. Pre-race registration for the mountain bike race will be available Sunday morning at the park as well. Full details regarding specific start times for race divisions as well as pricing for various age groups can be found at dinoseries.com.

Holzhausen had expressed concerns over how the off-road motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle race that was organized by AMA MAXC at the park July 27 would affect the trails. He said after visiting the park last Thursday, when AMA MAXC employees and park staff were working to repair the trails, that much of his confidence had been restored.

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