By Eddie Clark
(August 5, 2012) ELBERT, Colo.— The third season of the Rocky Mountain Endurance series drew to a close with the fifth and final race at the accommodating Pleasant Valley Boyscout Ranch. Located about an hour southeast of Denver, the ranch served as a welcoming venue for racers with plentiful camping, a dining hall and an abundance of shade to hide from the mid-day sun with. Most importantly, the 22 mile course gave racers an ample amount of rolling climbs and fast fun singletrack spread out between sections of double-track which made for easy passing.
While the location isn't exactly remote, the benefits to arriving a day early included choice camping, a racer pot-luck dinner, and an Oskar Blues night crit that followed a 3 mile course through the main venue and campgrounds. Everyone that started and finished the crit was deemed a winner as it was more about having fun than determining who was the fastest.
Starting at 8am on Sunday morning, marathon racers took the start line to begin their 66 mile odyssey across the rolling landscape that topped out with an elevation of 7100 feet. The half marathon and cross country races started 30 minutes later respectively.
In the open men's marathon race, Thomas Spannring and Kalan Beisel separated their selves from the field, and opened a slight gap by the second lap over singlespeed racer extraordinaire Cameron Chambers and Fernando Rivera. By the third and final lap, Spannring solidified his lead to claim the victory by 3:41 over Beisel with Rivera coming in further back for third place. The solid ride netted the overall series win for Beisel.
While the first two laps were ideal, things warmed up significantly as racers embarked on their third lap. Adding to the difficulty, a stiff headwind beat racers down as the battled across the open eastern sections of the course.
"It was a long day, it was windy and hot", recounted second placed marathon singlespeed racer Charlie Hayes. Just like in many of the preceding RME racers, Cameron Chambers destroyed the course on his singlespeed, "I was trying to chase Cameron Chambers around until he dispatched into a different time zone", said Hayes. Both Chambers and Hayes took first and second for the final race and series overall.
Women's racing saw Tracey Thelen take the open win over Natalie Ryan. Michelle Bliss finished first in the singlespeed race with Cristina Begy taking a desperate second. Begy had to run her bike into the pits on the second lap after suffering a bead failure in a rocky section of singletrack, and then battle back to make up time for securing the women's singlespeed overall series victory.