By Eddie Clark
Sol Vista Mountain States Cup
Sol Survivor rounds out the Mountain States Cup race season
(September 3, 4 and 5, 2011) GRANBY, Colo.—The Mountain States Cup Sol Survivor served as the last hurrah for the nine race series this past Labor Day Weekend. With double points on the line for each event, most racers chasing a series title toed the line for one last chance at securing their overall placing.
The first racers to compete were the short track cross country racers bright and early on Saturday morning. This high intensity lung busting event was held on a somewhat tough course that was basically straight up and back down a very singletrack-ish inspired course in the Sol Vista base area.
The pro women’s victor Sage Wilderman (Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory/DEVO) took the lead out of the start gate, and hammered the big ring up the climb every lap to distance her competitors. “It’s been a really fun season and I’m happy with how it turned out”, said Wilderman of her Mountain States Cup campaign this year.
Mike West (Yeti National Team) took the early lead in the pro men’s short track race but faded towards the end to finish third. Ernie Watenpaugh (Lifecycles) saved his energy until the end to pass West and Nick Truit (Yeti), and claim his first pro class victory in the Mountain States Cup series. The double points were the icing on the cake for Watenpaugh as it sealed up the overall series victory for him.
Super D racing was also held on Saturday, and a solid list of racers showed up for the mass start which featured a gut wrenching climb to sort out the contenders before entering the downhill singletrack. The course was basically the same as the US Nationals course from the previous two years, and Mike West once again returned to his winning ways by taking another victory on the course which he won the Stars and Stripes jersey on last year. Sarah Rawley (Yeti Beti) proved to be the fastest lady, and handily took the pro women’s SuperD win.
Rebecca Gross (Velo Bella) and Nick Truit (Yeti) both took their respective pro women’s and pro men’s cross country victories on Sunday morning. For the latter half of the day, the mountain cross track was the place to be. Michelle Riveria took the pro women’s win, and Brian Buell (Team Geronimo) came out on top in a crash filled action packed final that saw Yeti’s Chris Boice and Ross Milan collide with each other.
After a weekend of practice runs, Monday’s downhill race on the Cougar Trail commenced with a seeding run for the cat1 and pro’s before the amateurs had their crack at the challenging run which dropped 1,000 feet of vert. Chris Boice had the speed to take the win with a fastest time of 20:20.95, which also secured the overall series gravity victory, and Brian Buell took second place with a time that was just a half second slower. However, it was Brian’s brother Michael Buell (Team Geronimo) who claimed second place for the pro men’s gravity series final. Durango’s Alisha Gibson of Second Avenue Sports took the pro women’s downhill win and the overall gravity series victory with some solid riding to finish out another year of Mountain States Cup racing.