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Rose Grant holds off Crystal Anthony to claim fourth Marathon title

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Women’s Podium (L to R) Crystal Anthony (Riverside) 2nd, Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) 1st, Amy Beisel (Ridebiker) 3rd

Women’s Podium (L to R) Crystal Anthony (Riverside) 2nd, Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) 1st, Amy Beisel (Ridebiker) 3rd
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Three-time marathon champion Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) before the race

Three-time marathon champion Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) before the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) weaving her way through the dense forest with Anthony in tow

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) weaving her way through the dense forest with Anthony in tow
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) sprints across a long field with Crystal Anthony on her wheel

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) sprints across a long field with Crystal Anthony on her wheel
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Payson McElveen (Orange Seal-Ridebiker) chasing Bishop during lap two.

Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Payson McElveen (Orange Seal-Ridebiker) chasing Bishop during lap two.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) was showing the effects of patchy mud on the course

Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) was showing the effects of patchy mud on the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) was ecstatic with her fourth consecutive national championship

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) was ecstatic with her fourth consecutive national championship
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Crystal Anthony (Riverside-Ridebiker) before the race

Crystal Anthony (Riverside-Ridebiker) before the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant's Pivot was covered with mud

Rose Grant's Pivot was covered with mud
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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USA Marathon Champions Rose Grant and Payson McElveen

USA Marathon Champions Rose Grant and Payson McElveen
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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A Trek rider tackles one of the many climbs

A Trek rider tackles one of the many climbs
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Amy Beisel (Ridebiker) rode virtually the whole race alone in third place

Amy Beisel (Ridebiker) rode virtually the whole race alone in third place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Jennifer Toops riding to a top ten finish

Jennifer Toops riding to a top ten finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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The Pro Women head out onto a starting loop

The Pro Women head out onto a starting loop
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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The uphill road section of the starting loop was intended to string out the field before they entered singletrack

The uphill road section of the starting loop was intended to string out the field before they entered singletrack
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) leading Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) halfway through lap one

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) leading Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) halfway through lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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One of the course marshals was hard to miss

One of the course marshals was hard to miss
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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The view from the course was occasionally spectacular

The view from the course was occasionally spectacular
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) spent most of the first lap following Grant

Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) spent most of the first lap following Grant
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) leading Anthony with a half lap remaining

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) leading Anthony with a half lap remaining
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)
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Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) did everything in her power to drop Crystal Anthony but was unable to do so

Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) did everything in her power to drop Crystal Anthony but was unable to do so
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/ www.trailwatch.net)

Rose Grant (Stan's-Pivot) came into the race as the prohibitive favorite, seeking her fourth consecutive championship. Perhaps her biggest obstacle was the fact that she spent the winter rehabbing a knee, dislocated a shoulder ten days ago, and then crashed onto the pavement during the Fat Tire Criterium at the Whiskey Off-Road.

Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing), perhaps better known for her cyclo-cross prowess, was coming off a seventh-place finish at the Whiskey Off-Road, just four places behind Grant. She was clearly on Grant's radar as the likely challenger.

Early in the race it became apparent that the two were likely to ride the whole race together. Grant set a blistering pace on the first lap, and Anthony seemed to have no problem holding her wheel.

Amy Beisel (Kenda) was the best-of-the-rest and owned third from wire to wire. Riding alone, she was losing about five minutes per lap to the leaders.

It was on the final lap that serious fireworks erupted. Grant explained, "It was like trying to kill each other by ripping each other's legs off. The second half of the race we took turns at the front. Crystal put in some really aggressive efforts. Yeah, we were burning matches right down to the finish."

When asked what this race meant to her, give the challenges she faced over the past few months, Grant responded, "It means how important it is to trust the process, and stay faithful to the calling that has been laid before me. I just think it is an honor to race my bike for the glory of God."

Anthony clearly gave everything she had during the race. She explained, "I have a whole lot of respect for Rose. I was just trying to settle in and we had a good rhythm going. Rose was setting a good pace. I was just trying to ride cleanly and think about strategy since it looked like we were going to be staying together for the last lap."

Anthony concluded, "On the last lap we just took turns attacking each other….it felt like a race."

All three women on the podium will meet for a rematch at the Grand Junction Off-Road on May 20. Cyclingnews will be there to bring you all the action.

Brief Results

#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Rose Grant (Stans-Pivot)
2Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing)
3Amy Beisel (Ridebiker)

 

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