Photo: Sean McSorley

Having quickly cemented a place on the calendar a week ahead of the Sea Otter Classic, the third-annual Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival returns to Aptos Village, April 14-15, for a celebration of bikes and dirt.

Hosted by Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), the two-day event includes the first legally sanctioned enduro race through Soquel Demonstration State Forest, as well as dirt jump and pump track contests, cross-country short track races, a kids’ fun lap, and skill demonstrations and clinics. Dirt jumpers can also practice landing hair-raising maneuvers worry-free, with the help of a giant air bag.

Fox Racing Shox of Watsonville will again be the title sponsor and is donating prizes and a ton of awards, swag and raffle items.

Even if you’re not competing there will be plenty of other diversions, from ogling and demoing bikes — manufacturers will include Ibis, Niner, Pivot, Specialized, Giant and Santa Cruz — to refueling at the food court and beer garden. The beer garden will feature local brews from Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Boulder Creek Brewing Company, Santa Cruz Aleworks and Uncommon Brewers.

An “After-Party” on Saturday from 5-7 p.m. will feature live music from Oakland’s WhoGas, a funk/reggae/rock trio, beer and dancing.

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