Photo credit: Prickly Pedal /Maricopa Trail Foundation
Mountain bike racers take on the Maricopa Trail in last year’s Prickly Pedal Race, a 40-mile course.
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Third annual Prickly Pedal Mountain Bike Race


Tara Alatorre

CAVE CREEK – The third annual Prickly Pedal mountain bike race is on Jan. 20, it features a 40-mile course that takes riders through rocks, sand, mud, and aggressive ascents on the Maricopa Trail; it also features purse prizes for all the rider categories, a kid's bike race, an after-party with a beer garden and an award presentation.
All proceeds from the Prickly Pedal support the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation, a non-profit organization created by the county that supports the maintenance and construction of the Maricopa Trail, which is over 200 miles of connected desert trails that circle the Phoenix Valley.
“This event is to really focus the energy to Arizona about the Maricopa Trail initially," said the event director of the Prickly Pedal, Jeffery Frost.  "Two, three years down the road, then we become more national.  But we want to build the following here first."
The ultimate goal is that the Maricopa Trail will eventually form a giant ring and link Maricopa County’s 10 regional parks surrounding the Valley in a loop.  Currently 213 miles of the trail are finished, but it will be a total of 310 miles when totally completed.
“It is really undiscovered,” he says of the race and the Maricopa Trail.
Not only will the proceeds from the race go to maintaining and completing the Maricopa Trail, but riders will get to experience part of the trail for themselves, racing on the northern part of the trail between Cave Creek and Lake Pleasant.
“Every dollar of net revenue of event proceeds- after we get done paying all the race expenses- support the trail, last year that was in the range of $40,000 to $50,000,” said Frost enthusiastically.
This year 350 racers and 50 volunteers have already signed up, which means the race is slated to have a bigger turnout than last year.  The race starts at Flat Tire Bikes in Cave Creek, and last-minute registration packets will be available there on the day of the race.
“It really is an all-volunteer organization that manages this race,” he said. “We have had significant support from the county in terms of the sheriff’s office, department of transportation, City of Peoria, Cave Creek and of course Anthem. So, we have had a lot of support from a lot of different folks,” he said.
Racers and volunteers will enjoy a free breakfast provided by Hickman’s Egg Ranch and free entry into the after-party, which includes refreshments, a free raffle ticket, beer garden, live music, and a free kid's race that starts at 1 p.m. presented by Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association.
Prickly Pedal will provide free shuttles from the Lake Pleasant, where the race finishes, back to Cthe starting line.  Racers can secure their bikes in the bike corral Lake Pleasant while the shuttle takes them to retrieve their vehicles in Cave Creek.
The cost of the adult race is $80 if you purchase your registration tickets before Jan. 15, $90 after Jan. 15.  The juniors race is $60 if you register before Jan. 15, $70 after Jan. 15.  The race time for most riders will be about 4 to 5 hours, and participants must have a USA Cycling License to participate.
For more information, or to register as a racer of volunteer please visit,