Winder and Vermeulen win off-road titles at Old Man Winter Rally

Mass start for 100km at Old Man Winter Rally, which held its ninth edition in 2023
Mass start for 100km at Old Man Winter Rally, which held its ninth edition in 2023 (Image credit: Old Man Winter Rally)

Ruth Winder repeated as the women’s champion of the Old Man Winter Bike Rally on Saturday, while Alexey Vermeulen distanced Scott Funston on the second timed climb and took the men’s victory.

The ninth edition of the 100km mixed-terrain event crossed the snow-covered Rocky Mountain foothills and cantors of Boulder County. There were two timed sections at the high elevation sections, on uphills to keep the descents safer, that took in scenic gravel roads of Linden Mountain and Old Stage Road. The flat terrain at the start and finish led to the new start/finish at Bone Park in Lyons.

Last year, Winder topped Jess Cygan by 2:25 for the women’s victory. This time, on a mild and sunny day on the Front Range, Deanna Mayles finished second to Winder, and Cygan was third. Last year’s men’s winner, Alex Howes, was not in the field.

The roller-coaster route of climbs and descents through the snow-filled canyons began on pavement. Around 18 miles into the ride, the road tilted up with the turn at Plateau with single-digit gradients into Lefthand Canyon. Then the route narrowed at the Rowena Trail, an old jeep trail that looks like single-track in sections. A technical gravel descent on country road 83 led to Sunshine Canyon and then beyond to the first timed section, which crossed the highest elevation of the route, 7,499 feet. 

Funston rode a little over a minute ahead of Vermeulen and Chad Barentsen as the lead men headed through Sunshine Canyon to the time check. Nick Gould and Brennan Wertz rode together two and a half minutes later. 

Ruth Winder led the women through Sunshine, having built a seven-and-a-half minute over Mayles and another two minutes on Cygan. Tina Hart and Tess Amer were over 10 minutes back, riding in fourth and fifth positions in the women’s division.

A second timed section followed on pavement up Linden, which was the first of two punchy climbs. Vermeulen was the first rider to complete the Linden climb, with a two-and-half minute advantage over a pair of chasers, Funston and Wertz. 

Another 30 seconds later, Barentsen would sprint ahead of Gould for the fourth-best time. In combining the two timed sections, Vermeulen came away with the best overall time, 2:46:15, 1:01 faster than Funston, while Barentsen was third, with 2:49:15. 

On the women’s side, Sygan recorded the fastest time for the women to the top of Linden, outsprinting Mayles by half a second, 1:32:18. Just five seconds later, Amer stopped the clock for her time. Winder finished the second timed section 10 seconds later in fourth, and Leah van der Linden was fifth, almost six minutes later. Winder finished with the best combined time of 3:19:45 on the pair of timed sections, well ahead of Mayles and Amer.

The route turned back to gravel for the scenic descent of Linden Mountain and Bow Loop. Once at the top of Old Stage Road, a steep, paved climb, riders descended back to the flat terrain that met up with the 50km route and led to the finish.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ruth Winder 3:19:45
2Deanna Mayles 0:07:17
3Jess Cygan 0:09:32
4Tess Amer 0:10:37
5Tina Hart 0:14:12
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexey Vermeulen 2:46:15
2Scott Funston 0:01:01
3Chad Barentsen 0:02:58
4Brennan Wertz 0:04:58
5Nick Gould 0:05:23

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