Friday, June 17, 2005

Revenge gets real nasty, real fast

Singletrack bikers hit by storm


Perhaps, with summer officially starting Tuesday, the unpredictable spring weather has come and gone.

One thing's for sure: If you're a road or mountain biker, you've probably got caught in one of this spring's fast-moving and fast-evolving rain storms.

Certainly the 121 racers have storm tales to tell about Saturday's 13th annual Revenge of the Singletrack mountain bike race in the South Hills, south of Twin Falls.

As always, if you started early, you were all right. If you started later, you were taking your chances.

The lucky ones in the 2005 Wild Rockies Mountain Bike and Running Event were trail runners who started their course at 9 a.m. and beginner mountain bikers who pedaled off on their 12.5-mile course about 11 a.m.

Luck ran out for Sport, Expert and Pro mountain bikers who started about 12:30 p.m. A nasty, black cloud came roaring in from the north. Within minutes the event changed from a race to a survival run.

The skies opened up, said race director Ron Dillon. Pouring and pounding rain, hail, instant mud and plummeting temperatures made for shivering bodies and bikes that wouldn't shift. Few wore proper clothing, since it had been sunny and 70 degrees at the start of the race.

Dillon said, "This was the 107th mountain bike race I've hosted. It was also the second nastiest one ever." He said he might move the event from June into July next year to avoid the miserable weather.

Because the Sport Riders were in the middle of their single-lap, 15.5-mile race, they really had no choice but to finish. The Experts and Pros found the going too much. Every single Expert rider and Pro Woman racer dropped out of the race.

Amazingly, two Pro Men grimly hung on to finish—putting 29.5 horrific miles behind them.

Smith Sport Optics racer Lars Erik Johnson of Hailey (3.06:58) took the win with Darren Lightfield of Boise coming in 19 minutes later.

In Sport classes, Gabriele Andersen of Sun Valley (2.41:09) was second in 40-up on the 15.5 mile course. Steve Frinski of Hailey (2.35:07) was sixth in Sport 30-39 and Steve Claridge of Fairfield (2.38:23) sixth in Sport 40-49.

Kevin Murar of Hailey (1.11:06) won the Beginner Men 30-39 class over 12.5 miles and he also finished first in the six-mile trail run (46:53), giving Murar the overall duathlon victory with a final time of 1.57:59.

Next: The 17th annual Idaho City Excellent Adventure on Saturday, June 18. It includes a 7.5-mile trail walk and run starting at 9 a.m. and a 17-mile mountain bike race at noon.

Visit wildrockies.com or call 208-587-9530 for more details.




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