Texas STORM's the Mountain Biking Scene
(March 13, 2011) Comfort, Texas - If you combine Texas along with any type of cycling, you just know you're in for fireworks, even if it's the middle of March. This weekend's STORM Hill Country Mountain Bike Challenge held in Comfort, TX delivered just that. In the second race of the 2011 Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association's (TMBRA) spring series, this race was ready to deliver some explosive results.
"Texas may not have mountains, but the Hill Country provides a course that is every bit as technical and tough as you'd find in Colorado or any other Mountain Bike area" said George Longoria, STORM Treasurer. "The course over here at Flat Rock Ranch is 27 miles and allows for racers from both Cat 1 and 2 to start at different spots on the track and be out at the same time" continued Longoria. This is just one of the many positive aspects of the course which helped make for an incredible race. Flat Rock Ranch is a private ranch and has been used for all 12 of the annual STORM races, thanks to land owner Jimmy Dreiss. In other years, the Hill Country Challenge has been an omni event but for this year they decided to go strictly with a cross country race.
With just under 550 racers competing, there was a lot of riding to be had. The day kicked off with the Category 3 riders at 9AM, and one rider to watch was Jorge Munoz Jr....a 13 year old competing in the 19 to 29 year old category. Munoz delivered by taking the category and finishing almost 2 minutes ahead of second place, Kyle Halloran.
At 10:30 both the Cat 1 and 2's took off on their respective routes of 27 and 18 miles. Cat 2 racer, Max Bookman of 787 Racing found "reciprocity from a smashed chain two weeks ago" and took first place in the 19 to 29 year old category. After the race, Bookman was happy to report that "the bike Gods were with me today" and said the course was a "sweet mix of switchbacks and flats". In the Cat 2 30-34 year old category, it was Wes Jerman from Alchemy Racing taking first place with a time of 1:27:28. This is Jerman's first time back in the mountain biking scene after leaving it to pursue road racing. "This is a great event with great sponsors, and it's hard to find a better course in Texas" stated Jerman.
It was great to see so many incredible Texas riders taking place in today's race and seeing some very strong finishes by the likes of Jason Savill (Men's Cat 1 30-39), Shontell Gauthier (Women's Cat 1 Pro), and Alice Nance (Women's Cat 2 30-39) all taking 1st in their category.
One Texas mountain bike rider to definitely keep an eye on is 18 year old Payson McElveen. As a Cat 1 Pro, he's been ripping up the scene and although he had a wreck in the Hill Country Challenge, he managed to hang on to 3rd place behind Matt Gordon and Wiley Mosley. Gordon from Cycle Progression has competed in all 12 years of the STORM Hill Country and was happy to come out on top. "The course was in great shape...very fast and flowy. I got a gap from the other riders with 3 miles left and took it home to the finish" said Gordon.
Along with being a Cat 1 Pro, Payson McElveen of Team Bicycle Sport Shop is also a strong advocate of TMBRA. "I feel that it can be compared to the WORS series of Wisconsin. We have a great association that is family oriented and well funded", said McElveen of the Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association. Adding to that, Scott Schaefer (TMBRA President) said that "we're very pleased to have the STORM Challenge as part of our racing series. It is known as one of the more challenging and is able to draw a lot of competitors from the San Antonio and Austin areas. Flat Rock Ranch is a great place to hold a race, and it's impressive that this private ranch not only opens up to our event each year, but also allows for full time training during the year."
For a list of the complete race results, please check them out at USA Cycling.
Story by Darryl Kotyk of www.lovingthebike.com.
Photos courtesy of Chris Gomez.