Race report by Shawn Lortie
(May 21, 2011) Salida, Colo.-Day one greeted the racers with two stages, a two mile time trial to the top of “S” Mountain, and a STXC comprised of a stiff climb up a dirt road followed by a raging section of steep and loose singletrack back down to the bottom. In the TT, racers left the start line and climbed about half way up “S” Mountain before jumping onto a stretch of singletrack. A couple minutes of trail soon dumped the riders back out onto the spiral road that wrapped around the mountain to its highpoint for the finish.
In the Men’s Pro field, Mitch Hoke (Tokyo Joes) continued his strong results in the MSC Series, winning the first stage of the weekend, with Benjamin Sonntag (Team Jamis) and Brad Bingham (Moots Cycles) close behind. Cat 1 racer Howard Grotts (Rocky Mountain) put in a strong effort, finishing only 2 seconds slower than Hoke to win the Cat 1 class.
In the Women’s race it was Sage Wilderman (Specialized/Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) putting her stamp of authority on the weekend right from the start. Kelly Boniface (Moots Cycles) and Jennifer Smith (Alpine Orthapedics) put in strong efforts, but Wilderman’s time of 8:30:27 was enough to put her in 20th overall and keep her out of reach of the rest of the women’s field.
The Short Track XC climbed the same road as the TT, but instead of hitting the singletrack and climbing, the course sent racers back down to the start/finish line on some steep loose trail complete with many super tight switchbacks on the slopes of “S” Mountain. In the Men’s Pro race Hoke continued to show his form as he took to the front early in the race and held it until the end. The racing was tight though, with Sonntag coming in only about 20 seconds back, with Tad Elliot (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) only 13 seconds behind Sonntag.
The Woman’s race turned into quite a battle, as Jennifer Smith was not about to let Sage Wilderman off easy. The two battled from the start, with Smith riding in the lead for much of the race. By the end of three laps, Wildermann was able to get away, finishing in 24:13, with Smith close behind at 25:00 mins. Teal-Stetson Lee (Rocky Moiuntain Chocolate Factory) dug deep to finish only 15 seconds behind Smith for a third place on the stage.
For complete results: 2011 Mountain States Cup