Inaugural Moab Rocks Stage Race
Leaving from the City of Moab, following Kane Springs Road into the red cliffs of the Canyonlands, the pack rode at a neutralized pace until tires hit dirt. Then the racing started in earnest with sustained speeds of up to 30 mph on the dirt road at the front of the pack, while the rest of the field took in some spectacular views as the morning light illuminated the cliffs lining the course.
After the first major climb of the day, up and over Hurrah Pass, riders hit the infamous Jackson's Ladder, a section where they were obliged to carry their bikes up a steep boulder strewn gap in the vertical cliff face. The leaders navigated this section on foot in a surprisingly fast time of 7 minutes, while later riders took significantly longer as they struggled over the large rocks. From the top of the ladder, only a short section of climbing brought riders to the start of the timed descent stage on the Captain Ahab Trail.
For the overall cross country standings, the first rider across the line was Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing) of Colorado Springs with a time of 2:06:18, followed by two other Colorado pros, Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz, Maxxis, Shimano) and Travis Brown (Trek).
The Open Women's Category represented the dual origins of Moab Rocks with two former TransRockies Challenge champions and one local Moab rider in the top 3. Taking top spot was Kate Aardal (Ridley's Cycle) with a time of 2:29:17. Heidi Rentz (Ibis-Poison Spider) of Moab was second with a time of 2:34:12 and Trish Grajzcyk (Deadgoat Racing) from Calgary was third at 2:44:16.
In the 40+ Men's Category it was Moab's own Mark Sevenoff (Western Spirit) taking the win with a time of 2:20:28. Two Arizona riders rounded out the podium with Erik Keniston (Singletrack Bikes) in second and Kip Moyer (Flagstaff in 3rd). In the 40+ Women's category it was another former TransRockies Challenge champion Margie Smith (Wilson Mountain Sports) in the lead with a time of 2:50:39, followed by Calgary's Trish Mayer who was second despite going off course for 45 minutes after missing a turn while admiring the view! Atlanta's Jennifer Horn (Peachtree Bikes) was third.
The 50+ Men's category saw Golden, CO's Mark Wallace (Pedal
Pushers Cyclery) over TransRockies veteran Alec Petro (Corner Cycle) and Basalt, Colorado's Mike Armstrong (Xccentials/Basalt Bike & Ski).
Although not a true enduro, Moab Rocks offers a taste enduro by offering separate timing for a segment of downhill riding on each stage. Racers can challenge the timed descents for bragging rights as the best downhiller! For Stage 1, the descent winners were the same as the overall winners in all categories. In the open men's category, Russell Finsterwald took the top time with an incredible 17 minutes and 11 seconds, 55 seconds faster than the next faster rider, Josh Tostado. In the Open Women's Category, it was overall winner Kate Aardal with a margin of over 2 minutes. The 40+ categories also had the same winners as the overall stage: Margie Smith in 40+ Women (26:18) and Mark Sevenoff in 40+ Men (21:07). In the 50+ Men's category it was Mark Wallace with the fastest time of 21:16.
Stage 2 took riders up high into the Manti LaSal National Forest to an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, almost 4,000 feet higher than the start in downtown Moab. The long road climb from town, the longest climb in this year's Moab Rocks, was punishing for most riders but an early 8 AM start meant pleasantly cool temperatures under brilliant sunny skies. The length and intensity of the climb pushed some riders onto lower travel machines, making the descents all the more challenging. Of course, the suffering on the climb was well rewarded with one of the most popular downhill rides in the area serving as today's timed descent.
At the front of the field a U23 rider was again at the front of the pack, but this time it was Kerry Werner Jr. (BMC Development) taking the win over stage 1 winner Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory) with a time of 2:16:28. The two finished together and took the fastest times for the descent as well as the stage with Werner taking the fastest time of the day at 47:11. Breckenridge's Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz) took 3rd place. Finsterwald hangs onto the leaders plate for Open Men.
In the Open Women's category it was again Kate Aardal (Ridley's) winning with a time of 2:42:18 and Heidi Rentz (Ibis - Poison Spider) in second. Moab local Rentz took the fastest downhill time for the category. Fort Lauderdale's Jennifer Moos (Rose Bandits) moved onto the podium in third.
The 40+ Women's category again saw Margie Smith (Wilson Mtn. Sports) take the win, followed by Jennifer Horn (Peachtree Bikes) and Trish Mayer. In the 40+ Men's Category Mark Sevenoff (Western Spirit) repeated his stage 1 win over Erik Keniston (Single Track Bikes). Mark Logan (Cadence Brand Marketing) moved into third place on the podium.
50+ Men also saw the same top two positions with Mark Wallace (Pedal Pushers Cyclery) taking the win followed by Alec Petro (Corner Cycle). A new third place finisher today was Tom Arnold (Fast Friday). Wallace also took the fastest descent time in the category.
Stage 3 The third and final stage featured a crowd-pleasing 30 mile stage in the "Magnificent 7" trail network north of Moab. The Mag 7 network has been recently developed around the Gemini Bridges jeep road and includes plenty of fun and flowy singletrack.
The final stage saw many familiar faces at the front of most categories, including the Open Men's. It was Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory) taking his second stage win to secure the overall title ahead of fellow U23 rider Kerry Werner (BMC Development), yesterday's winner. Werner flatted on Stage 1 to finish fifth, but used stages 2 and 3 to make up ground in the overall, taking 2nd place in the GC ahead of Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Maxxis/Shimano). Tostado finished third on the day. Finsterwald also claimed the GC victory in the downhill division with a win in the Stage 3 downhill.
In the Open Women, Calgary's Kate Aardal (Ridley's Cycle) completed her winning streak to take the overall win by a total of 12 minutes over Moab's Heidi Rentz (Ibis-Poison Spider). Trish Grajczyk (Deadgoat Racing) took third in the stage to secure third overall. Aardal won the downhill stage to hang onto the overall downhill win.
Moab's Mark Sevenoff (Western Spirit) completed his winning streak to take the overall win in 40+ Men over Erik Keniston (Single Track Bikes), who finished second in all three stages. Calgary's Pat Doyle (Deadgoat Racing) found today's course to be the most suitable of the three for his single speed finishing third on the day. However, it was Mark Logan (Cadence Brand Marketing) hanging onto 3rd overall. Pat Doyle posted the fastest time in today's downhill, but Sevenoff retained the overall lead in the downhill GC.
Margie Smith maintained her winning streak in the 40+ women's category while Trish Mayer hung onto 2nd overall with a third place finish on the stage. Atlanta's Jennifer Horn (Peachtree) took second on the stage and 3rd overall. Smith claimed her second win in the downhill stage as well to win the downhill overall in 40+ women.
The 50+ men's category saw a final stage lead change as a mechanical pushed leader Mark Wallace (Pedal Pushers Golden) back to fourth on the day and second overall, allowing Alec Petro (Corner Cycle) to take the stage and overall win today. Tom Arnold (Fast Friday) took 3rd in stage and overall results. Petro also claimed his first downhill victory to claim the overall downhill victory.
As the Moab Rocks came to a close, riders raved about the great riding, scenery, organization and social aspects of the Moab Rocks. The event wrapped up with an awards banquet at Bar M Chuckwagon across the road from the finish line. A big thank-you to the official sponsors Poison Spider Bicycles, Moab Brewery, Louis Garneau, Honey Stinger, Ultima, Kicking Horse Coffee and Mountain Flyer Magazine. 2014 registration details will be announced shortly, stay tuned for more!
For full results log onto www.transrockies.com