Friday, July 4, 2014

Todd Wells to defend crown in Saturday’s USA bike marathon

Stars-and-Stripes jerseys at stake on Baldy

     Seventeen Stars-and-Stripes jerseys will be awarded in Ketchum on Saturday, July 5 as the 2014 USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships wrap up the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival.

     In a July 2 press release, race organizer USA Cycling of Colorado Springs, Co. stated that Saturday’s 20-racer field of the Pro/Open men’s event is stacked with talent.

     Todd Wells, 38, ofDurango, Co. (Specialized Factory Racing) will defend his nearly two-minute win from last year’s marathon nationals at Sun Valley. The three-time Olympian is targeting his third straight marathon national title.

     Wells will encounter some of the same threats he faced last year at Sun Valley.

     They include last year’s runner-up Stephen Ettinger, 25, of Bozeman, Mt. (BMX Mountain Bike Racing), Alexander Grant, 34,of Salt Lake City, Utah (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Carl Decker, 39,of Bend, Ore. Decker was national marathon runner-up in 2011-12.

     Last July, Ettinger was a 49-second winner over Wells for the Pro title of the USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike Nationals at Macungie, Pa.

     Saturday’s Women’s Pro/Open race is wide open.

     Monique “Pua” Mata, 34,of Yucaipa, Ca. (Sho-Air/Cannondale), winner of the last three national titles in this category, will be noticeably absent from the start line. She is recovering from surgery.

     Contenders include Serena Gordon, 35, of Bend and Jana Repulski of Boise (Broken Spoke Cycling).

     Pro/Open prize payout for men/women is $350 for first place, to $100 for fifth place.

     It is the second straight year that Sun Valley has hosted the Marathon Mountain Bike nationals, after the resort staged USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike Nationals in 2011-12. No further plans have been announced for Sun Valley to host another USA Cycling national event in the future.

     In addition to Pro/Open events, national titles are up for grabs in Senior, Masters, and Singlespeed categories.

     Returning national champion from Ketchum is Muffy Ritz in Women’s 50-Plus class. Last July Ritz won the Master 55-59 class by 16 minutes. She also won a national marathon title in 2011 at Bend, so she’s aiming for a third title in four years.

     Saturday’s competition for 210 riders in 17 classes has morning and afternoon waves that offer different courses.

     The competition begins with Men’s Singlespeed Saturday at 8 a.m. The Men's Pro/Open race will go off at 1 p.m. with the Women's Pro/Open event leaving the start line five minutes later. Other afternoon wave riders are Men’s 19-29 and Master 30-34, 35-39.

     Marathon competitors have paid $80 entry fees to compete on a 50-mile, two-lap course with 7,000 feet of climbing. The start and finish lines are at the River Run base of Baldy.

     Top locals on the start list include Joshua Berry and Sam Young in Pro Men’s. A strong Masters Men 30-34 group of locals features Adam Greene, Cameron Lloyd, John Reuter, Brad Walker and Jedd Young.

     Other locals signed up are Troy Larsen, Whit Albright, Tony Buoncristiani, Joel Brazil, Kyle Rafford, Herberth Corrales, Chris Gardner, Terry Duran, Julian Gomez Villafane, Amy Drumm, Karoline Droege, Peggy Trollan, Susan Robinson and Heidi Dohse.

     Former Idaho Mountain Express editor Shea Andersen of Boise is signed up for Men’s Singlespeed, along with Michelle Andersen of Boise in Women’s 40-44.

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