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- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 13:10
- Ryan O'Dell
A race within a race at the Iceman Cometh
For five years, The Kenda Midwest Mountain Bike Championship has been offering division winners an opportunity to compete with rival state series champions in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.
Following the regular season, division leaders who compete in the WORS, Wisconsin Off-Road Series, Kentucky State Series, Michigan Tailwind Series, Indiana DINO Series, and Ohio OMBC Series become eligible to represent their division and state series at the Iceman Cometh Challenge. MMBC scores each state series based on the finish times of each representative, individually and collectively ranking racers in each division and each state series as a whole.
From its inception in 2004, The Iceman has hosted the MMBC. Iceman is a 27-mile point-to-point race from Kalkaska to Traverse City, Michigan. Under the outstanding leadership of race director, Steve Brown, The Iceman celebrated its 21st anniversary becoming the largest single day mountain bike event in North America with nearly 4,000 racers making the pilgrimage to the Great Lakes state of Michigan.
In this "lowest points wins" format, the WORS Series, with just 44 total points, topped all five participating state series. Led this year by 30-year-old Patryk Limanowicz (PACT-Dish Network) who took second in the Men's 30-31 division at 1:51:25. 14-year-old Rachel Jensen (Gear Grinder) placed third in the MYC Scholarship division for Women 12-18. Also placing third and leading his racers to 5 straight MMBC victories was none other than WORS Series Director, Don Edberg who placed third in Men 58-60 with an impressive time of 2:05:09.
For two years now, the Ohio OMBC Series placed second led by 26-year-old Theodore Rauh (IDUTRI/Chamois Butt'r) who captured first placed in the Men's 25-27 in just 1:51:53. Four OMBC racers each placed fifth in their divisions, helping Ohio squeak past Michigan's Tailwind Series. Last year's Women's MYC Scholarship winner, 16-year-old Lindsey Prososki (Trek 29er Crew) finished in 3:04:18.
A rising force in Pro/Expert division of the Ohio Series, 23-year-old Jeff Pendlebury (Groovy Cycleworks) took fifth in Men 19-24 in just 1:52:22. The first racer to top 24-Hour Solo Champion, David "Tinker" Juarez's distance at the 24 Hours of Mohican, Chip Meek (Spinbikeshop/Dieringer Cycles) placed fifth in the Men's 34 division at 2:00:40. The final fifth place finishing helping to lift Ohio came from 68-year-old Mike Dietlin. Dietlin is the 60+ OMBC Series Champion topping off a great season with a 5th place finish in the Men's 65+ division in just 2:28:02.
Michigan's Tailwind Series finished just six points behind Ohio led by three racers who each placed first in their division including 21-year-old Ryan Katulic (Team Giant) in the Men 19-24 with a time of 1:48:32, Adam Naish (RBS Cycling Team) who took the Men's 34 division in 1:49:20, and Paul Brown (Roll Models Bike Shop) winning the Men 50 division in 1:49:27.
The Indiana DINO Series placed fourth led by 53-year-old Hoosier Steve Harpster (Matthews Bicycles) who placed seventh in the Men's 53-54 in 2:05:10. Three other DINO racers each placed eighth in their division including Greg Bauer (Kirk's Bike Shop) in Men's 38 division at 2:03:48, Michael Wheeler (bikes.com / fleettruckparts.com) in Men's 42 at 1:57:16, and Mike Johnson (DRT Racing) in Men's 46 at 2:01:16.
Perhaps due to having the farthest to travel, The Kentucky Series sent just nine representatives this year incurring a 20-point penalty as a result. MMBC rules state that there will be no less than 10 finishing representatives for each state series for scoring purposes. However, there were some young standouts from the Bluegrass state including 13-year-old Katherine Santos (Red Zone Cycling) who placed second in the MYC Scholarship Women 12-18 at 2:47:27. Another young talent, 15-year-old Daniel Santos (Red Zone Cycling) took ninth in the Men's MYC Scholarship 12-18 division at 2:21:25.
Division winners in 2011 will have the first opportunity to become representatives next season.
Final results by state series
Wisconsin/Illinois WORS - 44 points total
Rachel Jensen (Gear Grinder) - Sport Women 14 & under (3)
Lisa Krayer (Adventure 212/Specialized) - Cat 1 Women 35 & over (DNS/DNF)
Brittany Nigh (Pedal Moraine) - Sport Women 40-49 (DNS/DNF)
Caroline Warren - Citizen Women 40-49 (12)
Tristan Schouten (Mafia Racing) - Elite (5)
Peter Karinen (Cross Country Sports/ Endurance Trust) - Sport Men 14 & under (DNS/DNF)
Joseph Maloney - Comp Men 19-24 (DNS/DNF)
Patrick Scheibel - Sport Men 25-29 (7)
Eric Fossel (Spoke-N-Spine) - Comp 25-29 (3)
Patryk Limanowicz (PACT-Dish Network) - Comp 30-34 (2)
Michael Williams (Spoke-N-Spine) - Citizen Men 30-39 (14)
Eric Stanke (Schwag) - Sport Men 30-34 (6)
Gabriel Ion (Treadhead Cycling) - Sport Men 35-39 (5)
Ryan Krayer (Adventure 212/Specialized) - Cat 1 Men 30-39 (DNS/DNF)
John Lirrette (Hayes Disc Brakes) - Cat 1 Men 40 & over (DNS/DNF)
Glen Stroik (Chiropractic Partners) - Comp 45-49 (4)
Clive Warren - Citizen Men 40-49 (16)
Brett Edgerle (Gear Grinder) - Open Men 50 & over (12)
Steve Kapaun - Sport Men 55-59 (21)
Donald Carr (IS Corp) - Citizen Men 50-59 (6)
Don Edberg (WORS Racing) - Series Director (3)
Shawn Hauser (Titletown Flyers) - Comp Clydesdale (38)
Jesse Jaehnig (Sheboygan Bicycle Company) - Sport Singlespeed (55)
Ohio OMBC - 73 points total
Lindsey Prososki (Trek 29er Crew) - Sport Women (5)
Shannon Tenwalde (OMBC) - Sport Women (10)
Janice Morgan (OMBC) - Novice Women (26)
Heidi Shilling (COMBOraceteam/OMBC ) - Expert Women (18)
Julie-Lewis Sroka (OMBC) - Sport Women (11)
Ben Ortt (OMBC Pro) - Pro/Expert Men (62)
Nolan Gay (COMBOraceteam/OMBC ) - Novice High School 15-18 (62)
Jeff Pendlebury (Groovy Cycleworks/OMBC) - Pro/Expert Men (5)
Theodore Rauh (IDUTRI/Chamois Butt'r/OMBC) - Pro/Expert Men (1)
Dennis Wilson (OMBC) - Sport Senior 19-30 (78)
Cato Coleman (Trek Ohio Valley/OMBC) - Sport Veteran 31-40 (17)
Chip Meek (Spinbikeshop/Dieringer cycles/OMBC) - Pro/Expert Men (5)
Jason Kruse (COMBOraceteam/OMBC ) - Novice Veteran 31-40 (70)
Ronald Young (COMBO/wholefoods/OMBC) - Novice Veteran 31-40 (38)
Rusty Brown (CAMBA/OMBC) - Vet Open 35+ (8)
Patrick McConnell (OMBC) - Sport Veteran 31-40 (17)
Paul Remonko (COMBO/Wholefoods/OMBC) - Sport Master 41-49 (30)
Mitch Gay (COMBO Race Team/OMBC) - Novice Master 41-49 (62)
Ryan O'Dell (OMBC/Kenda) - Pro/Expert Men (34)
Joe Merry (OMBC) - Sport Master 41-49 (32)
Jim Core (OMBC) - Sport 50+ (19)
Mark Reynolds (OMBC) - Sport 50+ (64)
Rudy Sroka (OMBC) - Novice 50+ (6)
Mark Jones (Orrville Cycling Club/OMBC) - Sport 50+ (18)
Mike Dietlin (OMBC) - Sport 60+ (5)
Martin Zakes (OMBC) - Sport Clydesdale (DNF/DNS)
Rodney Reed (OMBC) - Sport Cydesdale (DNF/DNS)
Jeremy Russell (COMBO Race Team/OMBC) - Singlespeed Open (26)
Gary Hocke (COMBO/Roll/OMBC) - Singlespeed Open (DNF/DNS)
Michigan Tailwind Series - 79 points total
Victory Harris (Cross Country Cycle) - Beginner Women 14-Under (4)
Nichole Baker (On 2 Wheels) - Sport Women 25-39 (3)
Lisa Meyer (Flying Rhino Cycling Club) - Beginner Women 30+ (39)
Christian Tanguy (Team CF) - Elite Men (20)
Evan Castile (Team Fraser) - Expert Men 18-Under (29)
Ryan Katulic (Team Giant Michigan) - Expert Men 19-29 (1)
Brendon Waun (Clarkston, Mi) - Beginner Men 19-29 (70)
Jared Medler (Morgans Garage) - Sport Men 19-29 (24)
Adam Sulkowski (Howell, Mi) - Sport Men 30-34 (30)
Adam Naish (RBS Cycling Team) - Expert Men 30-39 (1)
Jim Bonnell (Waterford, Mi) - Sport Men 35-39 (17)
Michael Meyer (Flying Rhino Cycling Club) - Beginner Men 30-39 (19)
Claus Meyer (RBS Cycling Team) - Sport Men 40-44 (26)
David Tischler (Novi, Mi) - Beginner Men 40-49 (58)
David Richardson (Windsor, Ont, Can) - Sport Men 45-49 (DNF/DNS)
Paul Brown (Roll Models Bike Shop) - Expert Men 50+ (1)
Roger Allen (Ridedirt.com) - Sport Men 50-59 (31)
Niel Scharphorn Sr (Cross Country Cycle) - Sport Men 60+ (6)
Gilbert Johnston (Ford) - Sport Clydesdale (50)
Patrick Russell (Wolverine / American Cycle & Fit.) - Single Speed - Expert/Elite (7)
2010 DINO - 128 points total
Nicole Borem (DRT Racing) - DINO Cat3 Women (DNF/DNS)
Amelia Nelson (Matthews Bicycles) - DINO Cat2 Women (DNF/DNS)
Christina Halioris (Rogue Racing Project) - DINO Cat2 Women (37)
Cheryl O'Dore (DINOseries.com) - DINO Cat3 Women (18)
Christian Ramsey (Scheller's Fitness & Cycling) - DINO Cat3 Junior (DNF/DNS)
Brandon Hamilton (DINO ) - DINO Cat2 Men 19-29 (DNF/DNS)
Brian Falloon - DINO Cat3 Men 19-29 (23)
Christopher Hruska - DINO Cat2 Men 30-34 (23)
Michael Hemelgarn (DRT Racing) - DINO Cat1 Men 30-39 (12)
Anthony Kunkler (Matthews Bicycles) - DINO Cat2 Men 35-39 (10)
Greg Bauer (Kirk's Bike Shop) - DINO Cat2 Men 35-39 (8)
Dave McComb (Men of Steel Racing) - DINO Cat1 Men 40-49 (19)
Michael Wheeler (Rbikes.com / fleettruckparts.com) - DINO Cat2 Men 40-49 (8)
Mike Johnson (DRT Racing) - DINO Cat2 Men 40-49 (8)
John Wright (Heroes Foundation) - DINO Cat1 Men 40-49 (26)
Scott Wagner (DRT Consulting) - DINO Cat1 Men 50+ (DNF/DNS)
Steve Harpster (Matthews Bicycles) - DINO Cat2 Men 50+ (7)
Drew Ott (Matthews Bicycles) - DINO Clydesdale (30)
Kentucky Series - 193 points total
Katherine Santos (Red Zone Cycling) - KY (2)
Daniel Santos (Red Zone Cycling) - Ky (9)
Chris Sampley (Capital City Cycles) - KY Cat 2 (DNF/DNS)
Travis Dennison (KyMBA) - KY (DNF/DNS)
Pat Bucayu (Scheller's Cycling) - KY Cat 2 (11)
Martin Sanders (Reser/Fusion) - KY Cat 1 (12)
William Schweiter (Reser/Fusion) - KY Cat1 (45)
Mark Chaffins (Killing Joke Inc.) - KY Cat 2 (20)
Jim Jones (Scheller's Cycling) - KY Cat 2 (74)
- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 21:45
- Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
Mountain bike couple competing as a duo team for first time
The 565km Claro Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race will kick off on Sunday, November 14 and run through November 19. It starts and ends in Mucugê - Bahia and includes over 11,000m of climbing in six days. Many racers are making the trip from abroad, including the husband and wife team of Brian and Jenny Smith. The pair will be blogging about their race experience on Cyclingnews.
"We've both been to Brasil," said Jenny Smith, "Brian three times for Xterra Brasil events and me for Xterra Amazon. However, this is our first time together and it will be our first time racing a stage race together as a mixed team too." The couple, who lives in Gunnison, Colorado, has been married for 10 years.
Jenny is a New Zealander, who competes in Xterra off-road triathlon and elite mountain biking events. In 2010, she finished fourth at the USA Xterra championships and was a member of the New Zealand team for the UCI mountain bike world championships. She also won the Xterra Amazon and finished first, with Rebecca Rusch in the TransAndes mountain bike stage race. Smith has previously blogged her stage race adventures for Cyclingnews at events such as the Cape Epic.
Brian is a two-time USA Triathlon winter triathlon champion, two-time winter Xterra world champion and one of America's top off-road cyclists and triathletes. He tore his pectoralis tendon in May, requiring surgery and a summer of rehab. But the Brasil race has provided motivation for him to work back into form.
Some of the other international riders attending the race include Martin Gujan and Christof Bischof, Ivonne Kraft, Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney.
In late breaking news, organizers announced earlier this week that they had changed the final stage by extending it from 50km to 107km. "The cost benefit got better for the racers. They will have 50km more of riding and fun!" joked Mário Roma, organizer of the race.
In addition to the blog from the Smiths, Cyclingnews will be bringing you daily reports, photos and results from each stage.
- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 22:48
- Cycling News
Past winners Lewis, Hatton, Russell among the favourites racing
Two thousand mountain bikers from across Australia will travel to the Southern Highlands to race the Highland Fling on Sunday, November 14. Racers have the option of the 112km Full Fling, 100-mile and 60km Half Fling, with its snaking singletrack through the forest and farmland.
The Highland Fling starts and finishes in the Highlands town of Bundanoon, Australia's first bottled water-free town, with an extremely competitive field vying for the Maillot Tartane (the Tartan Jersey) which goes to the winner of the Full Fling.
Previous winners such as Shaun Lewis and Peter Hatton will be keen to take back the crown held by Craig Gordon for the past two years. Gordon is out, injured for 2010. The favourites will face stiff competition from the likes of Jason English, Matt Fleming, Andy Blair and 40 others in the elite category whilst in the women's category, Stephanie Russell will make the journey across from Western Australia to defend her title.
While the big money goes to the Full Flingers, it's the 100-mile Flingers who win further respect, enduring an additional 55km of tough off road riding in Australia's original 100-mile mountain bike race and for the first time, there are two women in the 100-mile Fling: Katrin Van Der Speigel is going up against Vanina Vergoz.
Undefeated four-time 100-mile men's champion Dennis Van Mil has dropped out of the race this year citing a lack of time on the bike. It will be hard to pick a winner in 2010 although Mark Fenner, John Blankenstein and local rider Brendan Den will no doubt be in the mix.
Not all the action will be on two wheels. Two unicyclists will battle it out on the Full Fling. That's 112km on one wheel. They are competing in different categories - one in singlespeed and one in open (as his unicycle has two gears).
For more information, visit www.wildhorizons.com.au.
- Article published:
- November 13, 2010, 16:51
- Cycling News
Squad says goodbye to Paez, Caro
With the additions of Gerhard Kershbaumer and Tony Longo, the TX Active-Bianchi team will include five men for the 2011 mountain bike season. The two will join Stephane Tempier, Cristian Cominelli and Ricardo Marinheiro, who are returning to the squad for next season.
Kershbaumer and Longo take the place of two riders, who are leaving the team at the end of 2010: Colombians Leonardo Paez and Julio Caro. Both are marathon specialists and will return to their home country. After a successful three-year relationship with TX Active-Bianchi, multiple-time national champion Paez will try his luck at road events. He is also looking forward to recovering from an accident in April, when he fractured his left hand. Paez has yet to return to full competitive form following his injury.
"We've enjoyed a very good time with both Leonardo and Julio and we are grateful for their commitment to our team," said team manager Massimo Ghirotto. "The TX Active-Bianchi team is proud to have had these two solid cyclists on the roster, and we wish them all the best for the future."
Racing on Bianchi Methanol SL model bikes, the team counted 15 victories in 2010 and numerous podium appearances. The team is now committed to preparing for the next season with the long term goal of sending its riders to the 2010 Olympic Games.
With its 2011 roster, the team is a young one, with an average rider age of just 22.
- Article published:
- November 13, 2010, 18:01
- Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
Updated: Seven-time Tour de France winner does endurance mountain bike race
Lance Armstrong headed off road for a mountain bike race on Saturday near his home in Texas. The RadioShack rider was competing in the Mellow Johnny's six-hour mountain bike race, sponsored by his Austin-based bike shop, however, he ended up abandoning the race with knee trouble.
The event kicked off at 10:00 am at Juan Pelota's ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas. In the six-hour race format, riders must complete as many laps as they can with the last rider allowed to head out for a final lap at 3:59:59 pm.
"Psyched to race the @mellowjohnnys 6hr tomorrow @juanpelota's ranch. 6hrs on a mountain bike?? May not survive it!!" said Armstrong said in a tweet on Friday.
The seven-time Tour de France winner has plenty of off-road racing experience, including winning the Leadville 100 in 2009. He has also competed previously at races held at the ranch.
There are only three categories for the USAC-sanctioned event: solo men open, solo women open and two-person 80+. Armstrong is contesting the solo men's race and he was apparently headed into it well rested.
"Getting ready for the @mellowjohnnys 6hr. Slept in so now I'm late! 10hrs of great sleep ain't bad tho," tweeted Armstrong on Saturday morning.
Later in the day, he reported his own status as a DNF after abandoning the race. "Been having a few knee issues of late and they flared up today. Quite a bummer. Was feeling pretty good," tweeted Armstrong.
Juan Pelota's ranch hosted the US Pro XCT series stop on May 30. Max Plaxton (Team Sho-Air) and Georgia Gould (Luna) won. Armstrong did not compete. Last November, the ranch also hosted the Mellow Johnny's Classic, won by Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger. Armstrong did race that one and was at the front with JHK until he had to withdraw after a flat tire.
- Article published:
- November 13, 2010, 21:04
- Jason Sumner
Photo gallery of pre-race images included
Brazil's standing as a world sporting power will rise yet another level Sunday, as the first annual Claro Brasil Ride kicks off from the picturesque mountain town of Mucuge in the sprawling northeastern state of Bahia.
The six-day mountain bike stage race adds luster to a year that's already seen the globe's fifth largest country honoured as host of the next World Cup soccer cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Racing kicks off at noon local time with a 13km prologue. Top riders are expected to complete the technical loop in around 40 minutes.
The real action begins on Monday, with what's arguably the event's hardest day, a testing 86-mile trek from Mucuge to Rio de Contas. According to the race bible, total climbing on the day will exceed 11,000 feet. Ascending is spread equally across a knife-edged profile that's almost never flat. The last 40km finishes with a brutal 1772-foot grind.
All told, racers will take on 565km challenge with over 33,000 feet of climbing.
The first-year event is the brainchild of Mário Roma, a veteran of the mountain biking endurance game and owner of a sports communications company based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Among Roma's accomplishments are finishes at Cape Epic in South Africa, Canada's TransRockies and the BC Bike Race, Costa Rica's La Ruta, and TransAlps, which criss-crosses Europe's highest mountains.
Roma's taken his experiences and observations from that list of great mountain bike stage races and used them as the starting point for his own creation.
"Racers can expect a very professionally run event and a very challenging race," said Roma, who along with his wife, sister and a staff of 80 will be doting on 109 teams of two over the next week.
The entire race is set within Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, a massive 1520-square kilometer national park that's considered among Brazil's top scenic sights. But unlike many of North America major national parks, this gem is not overrun by tourists. That's due in large part to its remote setting deep in Bahia's western interior.
After arriving in the capital city of Salvador earlier in the week, the majority of racers and some staff took a bus to the Park - total travel time, including a brief lunch stop, nine hours.
The majority the Claro Brasil Ride racers are Brazilian amateurs, but there's also a handful of pro-level international teams from Europe and the US. Tops on that list are the Swiss duo of Martin Gujan and Christof Bischof. Gujan was 16th in the cross country at last summer's world championships in Monte-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. Bischof is an accomplished Swiss marathon and cross country rider, who was second in his country's nationals in 2004.
Perhaps the most intriguing battle will come in the mixed duo category, which includes a trio of US-based tandems: Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney (Topeak-Ergon), Brian and Jenny Smith (Trek), and Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren (Sole-Ellsworth).
Lundgren and Romero are accomplished adventure racers, but arguably they're better known for a recent ascent to the top of Mount Everest, along with Romero's 13-year-old son Jordan. It was a record-breaking effort for the teenager, who along with his dad and his girlfriend Lundgren, are on a quest to join the exclusive seven-summits club. They have six under their belts, with only Vinson Massif in Antarctica remaining to conquer.
Kerkove and Looney, meanwhile, swept the Breck Epic mixed category earlier in the year. The Smiths are both accomplished Xterra athletes.
Other notable names racing in Brazil include German Olympian Ivonne Kraft, multi-time Italian 24-hour-solo champ Menapace Lorenza and Portuguese cross country marathon champion Sandra Araujo.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Claro Brasil Race including also daily blogs from racers Brian and Jenny Smith.
- Article published:
- November 14, 2010, 17:50
- Cycling News
Race to finish in new Austrian location
The Trans Germany mountain bike stage race announced the host towns for its 2011 edition of the race on June 1-4. The specific routing between those towns is still to be determined although one new host town and a new route overall are planned.
The race will begin in Sonthofen with stage 1, which will take racers from the Upper Allgau district capital to Pfronten. In the second stage, all participants will cross the German-Austrian border while heading to Lermoos. Stage 3 will depart from the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena and head back to Germany - specifically Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which hosted the start of the 2010 event. The final stage will go again to Austria, where the race will finish in Achensee/Maurach, which will be part of the event for the first time.
"In 2011, we will provide high alpine routing in the German-Austrian Alpine foothills," said Anika Stephan, project manager for the Munich-based event agency in charge, Plan B. "We are glad that we can rely on the help of our experienced 2010 stage towns as well as having found an Austrian finish town again, Achensee/Maurach."
With detailed route planning still in its early stages, Stephan gave one hint on what is coming. She said racers should expect major changes to the stage from Pfronten to Sonthofen, which will be ridden in the opposite direction of last year.
For more information on the race or to register, visit www.bike-transgermany.de. 1,200 total spots are open for racers on a first come, first served basis.
- Article published:
- November 14, 2010, 21:47
- Cycling News
Four-time winner Kobin to be challenged by Rusch, Rojas, Parra, Madrigal
The women's race at La Ruta de los Conquistadores, a four-day mountain bike stage race that traverses Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Carribean coast, promises to be a great battle. The race starts on Wednesday, November 17 and finishes on Saturday, November 20.
This year top endurance athletes, including Americans Rebecca Rusch and Louise Kobin, Colombian Angela Parra and local Costa Rican favorites Adriana Rojas and Ligia Madrigal, will compete in one of the toughest mountain bike stage races in the world.
La Ruta co-owner, Pipa Leon, is very excited about the great line-up of women competing in La Ruta. "La Ruta is an adventure that is a perfect fit for the mind and body of an extreme female endurance athlete. It is an experience that women will enjoy, and a race where they can excel year after year."
Kobin, Rojas, Parra, Madrigal, and Rusch have won many extreme endurance races around the world and each of them has experience riding in the diverse and challenging terrain found in Costa Rica.
Kobin has the most direct experience as a four-time La Ruta winner (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009) and she finished second twice (2006, 2007). The six-time participant missed one year, when she had a broken foot.
Another American, Rusch took fourth when she raced La Ruta in 2005. This summer, she won the Leadville 100 and set a new women's course record.
Rusch is looking forward to the La Ruta challenge this year. "Now that I have more experience and knowledge of bike racing, I want to come back and see if I can improve on my placing," said Rusch. "La Ruta is also one of the oldest and most known endurance mountain bike events, so I have to come back and try again."
Rojas took first place at La Ruta in 2009 while her compatriot Madrigal is the Costa Rican marathon national champion and she previously finished second at La Ruta in 2005. Madrigal is a key member of top adventure racing teams in the area.
Parra is the Colombian National Mountain Bike Champion and she took second place in the Central American Games mountain bike race.
La Ruta is a sort of exploration as riders will pass through diverse and beautiful terrain including rain forests, active volcanoes, mountain ranges, rivers, coffee farms, and native communities.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of men and women's races at La Ruta.