In a performance reminiscent of the years before he shifted emphasis to cyclo-cross, Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) set a blistering pace to lead most of the race to win his first mountain biking race of the year. Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) had one of his more impressive rides of the year to take second place. Todd Wells (Specialized) edged out newly named Olympian Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) by inches to take third. Schultz finished fourth, while his teammate Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski took fifth place.
In one of the most exciting races of the year, riders headed out onto the Ute Valley course less than one hour after heavy rain had severely affected the elite women's race. While the first lap was tacky, the clay course recovered quickly and became noticeable faster as the race progressed.
Schultz took the hole shot and led the racers around a starting loop on a dirt running track. As they headed up the first major climb, Schultz was followed closely by Sid Taberlay (H20 Overdrive) JHK, and Craig. Wells had to fight back from a poor start to finally assume fifth position.
As the riders crested the first ridge, they faced a steep downhill slick rock chute with several drop-offs. Trebon said, "I wanted to get to the downhill first because they were going a little faster down those drops."
By the second lap, the group of five had broken free of the chasers. Russell Finsterwald (Subaru Trek) was riding alone in sixth place with series leader Colin Cares (Kenda/Felt) not far back in seventh. The two riders would eventually swap positions before the finish.
Trebon, riding his first mountain bike race of the year, said, "I felt good on my bike. It's fast and fits really well. It's stiff and responsive." Trebon recently signed with Cannondale for cyclo-cross season and is riding the company's mountain bikes as well. "I felt good. It's a short race just one hour and 15 minutes. It's like a long 'cross race", Trebon said.
As the race progressed, Trebon finally pulled away on the third lap. Schultz said "When Ryan went to the front, I said, 'Man, that's the one guy we don't want on the front.' I think he is more famous for making those moves stick than the other way around. If I could have done anything, I would have."
JHK said, "You can tell when Ryan's got the legit attack or the fake attack, and I could tell that he was feeling good. Then there was a little opportune moment. Todd had a little bobble, and my chain fell off a little. That's all it took. We were chasing hard. We didn't just let him go. Adam took a huge monster pull to try to bring him back. We were cooking every downhill."
Heading out onto his final lap, Trebon had opened a 15-second lead. Craig became very active and fought to get to the descent before the other chasers. By the end of the lap, he had a sizeable gap on the other three chasers and rolled across the finish line alone to take second place. He later credited some training he did with fellow Bend, Oregon resident Barry Wicks (Kona) for helping to bump up his fitness.
Wells, Schultz, and Horgan-Kobelski all entered the finishing track together. The final sprint was basically between Wells and Schultz, with Wells winning in a photo finish. JHK was only a few feet behind.
The new venue at Ute Valley Park got high marks from most of the racers. Many said that riding the rocky course was "fun". Had the rain that affected the elite women continued for another hour or so, the opinions might have been different due to the slick clay.
Many of the top racers will now travel to Monte-Sainte-Anne for World Cup #5. Most world Cup athletes now know if they will be competing in the London Olympics in August. The USA will be sending Todd Wells to his third Olympics, while Sam Schultz will be attending his first. They will be using these upcoming North American World Cup races as part of their preparation for London.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ryan Trebon (USA) Cannondale||1:15:30|
|2||Adam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant||0:00:13|
|3||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized||0:00:16|
|4||Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek|
|5||Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek|
|6||Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:02:13|
|7||Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru Trek||0:02:49|
|8||Macky Franklin (USA)||0:02:57|
|9||Hector Rivero (Col)|
|10||Jack Haig (Aus)||0:03:06|
|11||Rotem Ishai (Isr)||0:03:10|
|12||Spencer Paxson (USA)||0:03:12|
|13||Troy Wells (USA)||0:04:04|
|14||Mitchell Hoke (USA)||0:04:13|
|15||Diyer Rincon (Col)|
|16||Kalan Beisel (USA)||0:04:26|
|17||Braden Kappius (USA)||0:04:43|
|18||Skyler Trujillo (USA)||0:04:48|
|19||Tad Elliott (USA)||0:04:49|
|20||Russell Stevenson (USA)|
|21||JJ Clark (USA)||0:04:52|
|22||Zachary Valdez (USA)||0:05:35|
|23||Gert Heyns (RSA)||0:05:38|
|24||Chris Baddick (GBr)||0:05:41|
|25||Brendon Davids (RSA)||0:06:13|
|26||Cameron Chambers (USA)|
|27||Hilmar Yamid Malaver (Col)||0:06:24|
|28||Ken Benesh (USA)||0:07:00|
|29||Trevor Walz (USA)||0:07:09|
|30||Josh Whitney (USA)||0:07:47|
|31||Ernie Watenpaugh (USA)||0:08:18|
|32||Justin Piontek (USA)||0:08:20|
|33||Colton Andersen (USA)||0:08:37|
|34||Nathan Guerra (USA)||0:08:57|
|35||Kerry Werner (USA)|
|36||Payson Mcelveen (USA)||0:09:11|
|37||Samuel Morrison (USA)||0:09:35|
|38||Alex Pond (USA)||0:09:50|
|39||John Klish (USA)|
|40||Greg Krieger (USA)||0:10:57|
|41||Garet Steinmetz (USA)||0:11:35|
|42||Sid Taberlay (Aus)||0:11:49|
|43||Jordan Kahlenberg (USA)||0:12:23|
|44||Andy Schultz (USA)||0:13:01|
|45||Aaron Anderson (USA)||0:13:17|
|46||Jason Hilimire (USA)||0:14:09|
|47||Travis Woodruff (USA)||0:16:55|
|48||Aaron Elwell (USA)||0:17:23|
|49||Kevin Bradford-Parish (USA)|
|DNF||Jack Hinkens (USA)|
|DNF||Bryan Mickiewicz (USA)|