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Grotts takes Carson City Off-Road win with last-lap attack

Elite Men XC: Carson City -

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Howard Grotts (Specialized) stayed close to Swenson for two laps

Howard Grotts (Specialized) stayed close to Swenson for two laps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) was a pre-race favorite to be on the podium

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) was a pre-race favorite to be on the podium (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) was having a solid ride and no tire problems today.

Todd Wells (Specialized) was having a solid ride and no tire problems today. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) putting in another podium ride today.

Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) putting in another podium ride today. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kyle Trudeau (CZ Racing) rounding a switchback with Cypress Gorry close behind.

Kyle Trudeau (CZ Racing) rounding a switchback with Cypress Gorry close behind. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Geoff Kabush and Todd Wells have raced each other countless times in the past two decades.

Geoff Kabush and Todd Wells have raced each other countless times in the past two decades. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A racer makes his way down the dozens of switchbacks

A racer makes his way down the dozens of switchbacks (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jake Yackle (Yackle Bros. Racing) riding to a 15th place finish

Jake Yackle (Yackle Bros. Racing) riding to a 15th place finish (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Howard Grotts (Specialized) rode in for the win with six motorcycles escorting him

Howard Grotts (Specialized) rode in for the win with six motorcycles escorting him (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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 Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) being congratulated by one of his sponsors

Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) being congratulated by one of his sponsors (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (Focus Shimano) fell slightly off the pace of the leaders during the second lap

Stephen Ettinger (Focus Shimano) fell slightly off the pace of the leaders during the second lap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Howard Grotts (Specialized) chasing Swenson during lap two.

Howard Grotts (Specialized) chasing Swenson during lap two. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Pro Men rolled out at a leisurely pace

The Pro Men rolled out at a leisurely pace (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (Focus-Shimano) leading Howard Grotts through one of the few shaded portions of the course.

Stephen Ettinger (Focus-Shimano) leading Howard Grotts through one of the few shaded portions of the course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) riding in third position during lap one.

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) riding in third position during lap one. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott Maxxis) and Todd Wells (SRAM-TLD) chasing the leaders during the opening lap

Geoff Kabush (Scott Maxxis) and Todd Wells (SRAM-TLD) chasing the leaders during the opening lap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nathan Barton (Last Chance Racing) descending Ash Canyon

Nathan Barton (Last Chance Racing) descending Ash Canyon (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jason Blodgett (KTM Bike) riding in the top twenty during lap one.

Jason Blodgett (KTM Bike) riding in the top twenty during lap one. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Barry Wicks (Kona Endurance Team) riding well during the opening lap

Barry Wicks (Kona Endurance Team) riding well during the opening lap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Carl Decker (Team Giant) with Barry Wicks in his sights

Carl Decker (Team Giant) with Barry Wicks in his sights (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kris Sneddon (Kona Endurance Team) halfway down the switchbacks

Kris Sneddon (Kona Endurance Team) halfway down the switchbacks (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Howard Grotts (Specialized) won the Carson City Off-Road with a last lap uphill attack on Keegan Swenson (Cannondale). Swenson, who had led for most of the first two laps, was able to hang on for second place 2:16 behind Grotts. Stephen Ettinger (Focus Shimano) who was the initial aggressor and led the first lap rolled in alone to claim third place. USA Marathon Champion Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) was fourth, and young Cypress Gorry (KTM Factory) rounded out the podium in fifth place.

Heat was a major factor in the race and had forced Epic Rides to move the starting times up an hour to 7:30 AM. Ironically, massive snowpack had forced a course change from the long loop used last year to three 18-mile loops used on Sunday. Many of the racers felt that the new course was even more demanding than the old course.

Howard Grotts commented on his race, "Pretty early on we had a group. Ettinger was pushing the pace on the first singletrack climb and singletrack descent. Then we rolled through the first lap with quite a big group. Keegan then almost immediately hit it on the steep climb. From there it was just Keegan, Steven, and I. Stephen popped off somewhere on that second lap and Keegan and I were just riding tempo on our own."

Grotts added, "I just knew I had to hit it somewhere on the climb since he was descending a little faster than me. So, yeah, I got away somewhere after the feed zone halfway up the climb."

Keegan Swenson commented, "Howard put in a bit of an effort after the feed zone on the singletrack climb and I just couldn't match it. I just had to keep riding my own pace. I was pretty tapped in heat and didn't want to do too much and fully explode."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized3:52:25
2Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale 3Rox0:02:16
3Stephen Ettinger (USA) Focus, Shimano, Clif0:06:08
4Payson Mcelveen (USA) Orange Seal0:06:37
5Cypress Gorry (USA) KTM Factory USA0:07:25
6Kyle Trudeau (USA) CZ Racing, BikeFlights.com, Rouleur Carbon0:08:15
7Nic Beechan (USA) Trek Test Team, Shimano, Stans NoTubes, Ride 100%, Fox0:09:54
8Todd Wells (USA) SRAM, TLDS, SCOTT, CLIF, ICE FRICTION TECH, JULBO, EDGE, TURBINE0:12:30
9Spencer Paxson (USA) KONA BICYCLES, WTB, SHIMANO0:14:41
10Ryan Standish (Aus) Merida Bikes, Torq Nutrition, Flight Centre Active Travel0:19:21
11Bryan Dillon (USA) Topeak-Ergon, Canyon, SRAM0:19:56
12Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniels, Box Canyon Bicycles, Sunshine Pharmacy, BMC0:21:17
13Alex Grant (USA) Cannondale, Enve Composites, Gear Rush0:22:34
14Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Off Road0:22:45
15Jake Yackle (USA) YACKLE BROTHERS RACING, KHS0:23:30
16Chris Baddick (GBr) Boulder Cycle Sport, Scott Bicycles0:25:04
17Stephan Davoust (USA) Giant Factory Off Road, SRAM, Schwalbe0:26:59
18Elliott Baring (USA) Pivot, Maxxis, Northstar Bicycles0:28:03
19Jorge Munoz (USA) CZ Racing, Bike Haus, and Tenac Championship Coaching0:31:15
20Liam Earl (USA) Clif Bar, Niner Bikes0:32:37
21Jason Blodgett (USA) KTM Bike Industries, Kenda Tires, SRAM0:32:48
22Nathan Barton (USA) Last Chance Racing, Auburn Bike Company0:33:42
23Stefano Barberi (USA) Support Clean Sport, SeaSucker, Guttenplan Coaching0:34:14
24Adam Bucklin (USA) Team Rwanda0:34:40
25Jeff Bender (USA) Kuhl/Trek/ESI/Red Ace Oganics0:35:57
26Weston Rasmussen (USA) CZ Racing0:40:43
27Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Endurance Team, Shimano, WTB0:41:30
28Josh Whitney (USA) Evol Foods, Giant Bicycles, Young Wealth Management0:42:55
29Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott Sports, Maxxis, Shimano0:44:32
30Jason King (USA) Lost Coast Brewery, ESI grips, Felt Bicycles0:46:14
31Alex Pond (USA) Sonoran Cycles, Honey Stinger, Big Agnes0:51:28
32Cody Schwartz (USA) Scott, SRAM, Jakroo0:51:46
33Tim Racette (USA) McDowell Mountain Cycles, Mike's Mix, Maxxis Tires0:51:48
34Jim Hewett (USA) Acme Bikes, Flynn Law, Trek0:52:11
35Chris Ganter (USA) Rolf Prima, Niner Bikes, First Endurance, Maxxis, Rudy Project0:52:20
36John Nobil (USA) BEAR VALLEY BIKES0:53:29
37Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona, Mom and Dad0:53:35
38Steven Mills (USA) Redding Sports LTD. New west Medical , Ibis cycles0:59:10
39Brad Bingham (USA) Kent Eriksen Cycles, Honey Stinger, Big Agnes1:05:30
40Leif Lujan (USA) Hendler Racing, Team Alchemist1:06:09
41Nick Thomas (USA) Cadence Promotions, Speedtech, Trek1:17:16
42David Duncan (USA) Scott Sports. SRAM. Cycling Development1:35:23
46Bobby Brown (USA) Bicycle Outfitters, Boyd Cycling2:22:40

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