Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rusch settles for bronze in Leadville 100

European pros set new course records

Express Staff Writer

     The four-year victory string of Ketchum’s Rebecca Rusch in the Leadville Trail 100-mile mountain bike race ended Saturday in Colorado, but Rusch still ended up in third place among the top women.

     Rusch, 44, finished her 12 laps in 7.35:27 and came up a little shy of the previous course record 7.28:06 she set last year in becoming the only female to win Leadville 100 four times.

     Although she captured the Women’s 40-44 class and placed 47th overall of 1,367 finishers, Rusch was about 18 minutes behind the new champion—35-year-old Sally Bigham, of Dorset, Dover, Great Britain and the Topek Ergon team.

     Last year, Bigham was the women’s runner-up about six minutes behind Rusch after going off-course in the wrong direction for several miles. This year Bigham shattered Rusch’s course record with a time of 7.17:01 for 26th place.

     The next-fastest female was Alison Powers in 7.21:57, 28th.

     Men’s winner for the second straight year was Alban Lakata, 36, of Lienz, Austria with a new course record 6.04:01. It was four minutes faster than repeat men’s runner-up Christoph Sauser of Switzerland (6.05:07). Third-place went to American Todd Wells (6.18:47).

     Called “Race Across the Sky,” and known as the most prestigious ultra-distance mountain bike race in the U.S., the Leadville Trail 100 was staged for the 20th time.

     One of the world’s most punishing races with steep climbs and descents, the Leadville 100 begins at 10,152-foot elevation and reaches 12,550 feet at Columbine Mountain. The course measured about 103 miles.

     Rusch’s Leadville 100 finishing times over five years—7.35:27 in 2013, 7.28:06 in 2012, 7.31:46 in 2011, 7.47:35 in 2010 and 8.14:53 in 2009.


    Roger Mankus finishes again

     Ketchum’s Roger Mankus, 56, finished Saturday’s Leadville 100 in 11.25:29, good for 159th in the Men’s 50-59 age class and 1,083rd overall.

     Mankus is a Hall of Famer on the Leadville Trail 100 honor roll. Leadville Trail Mankus has 12 or more finishes under 12 hours. And he’s among the all-time leaders with 18 Leadville 100 finishes since the event started in 1994 in Colorado. Mankus was 37 when he finished his first Leadville Trail 100 in 1994 with a time of 11.29:33, for 86th.

     His Leadville times in recent years have been remarkably consistent—11.26:14 in 2012, 10.50:08 in 2011, 10.44:56 in 2010 and 10.43:22 three years ago in Colorado.

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