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Idyllwild Spring Challenge - California

Posted by: Jens Raz |June 8, 2012 3:38 AM
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Idyllwild Spring Challenge

Written by: Jens Raz

The 2012 Idyllwild Spring Challenge brought the largest Pro Women's field to grace the event in its 8 year history with 8 Pro women looking to duke it out on some of Idyllwild's finest forest singletrack.  In addition to bragging rights, Idyllwild Cycling puts up EQUAL PRO PAYOUT to men and women, regardless of the number of entrants.  The Pro's were racing for $1,000 to 1st, $500 to 2nd, $125 to 3rd, $75 to 4th, and $50 to 5th.  In addition to podium payout the race boasts handcrafted metal King of the Mountain (KOM) and Queen of the Mountain (QOM) trophies by Dore Capitani of Idyllwild, and 3 climbing primes - Keen Camp Summit ($25), the top of Lower Southridge (the "cyclocross" climb - $50), and the top of Southridge fire road ($100).

The field was made up of Xterra World Champion Lesley Paterson, Xterra Pro Jessica Cerra, and local mountain bike Pro's Allison Mann, Sarah Jansen, Tonya Bray, Vanessa Humic, Lauren Gregg, and Colorado racer Sydney Fox.  Temperatures had climbed to about 80F on a bluebird day at Hurkey Creek Park in Idyllwild, CA before the women took off 2 minutes behind the Pro Men.  From "GO", Mann, racing for Bikes for Boobs/Rock N' Road, took the hole shot into the sandy chicanes and never looked back.  Behind her the women massed in a peloton that funneled into the fast approaching singletrack.  Tonya Bray (MTBCHICK.COM) led the charge with Sarah Jansen (Team Margarita) hot on her wheels.  Paterson (Trek/K-Swiss) remained close by in 4th as the women made their way up the rocky singletrack Keen Camp Climb.  Fox, Cerra (who had never ridden the trails prior to the race), and Humic all remained in close contention on the early part of the climb as well, but the heat, elevation, and rock sections led to some early separation in the group. 

Mann took the first prime at the top of Keen Camp before shifting into a big gear and heading down the fun and much needed "Recovery Trail" to Johnson Meadow.  The remaining women shuffled position with Jansen overtaking 2nd and Paterson charging in 3rd before Keen Camp Summit.

At the top of Lower Southridge singletrack Mann took the second prime and continued up May Valley to cross Astrocamp before settling in for the steepest portion of climbing on the day up Southridge fire road, which boasts switchbacks so steep the forest service has had to pave them.

Keeping with the first two primes, Mann snagged the 3rd and final at "Cherry on Top" before descending down Middle Southridge singletrack, with Jansen and Paterson chasing close behind.  

A small crash led to Jansen losing her chain, which allowed Paterson to pass her for 2nd place  (2:44) with about 3 miles of singletrack to go to the finish line.  Jansen held on strong for 3rd, (2:45) Cerra (Focus Bikes) took 4th, (2:57) with Bray rounding out the women's podium in 5th(2:57).

On an interesting note, Allison would have placed 13th in the menís pro division with a time of 2 hours and 38 minutes!

The menís proís showdown came down between the Legend Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), recent Vision Quest champ Dana Weber (, relatively new comer and recent High School Grad Zack Valdez (Whole Athlete Specialized) and Socal Cytomax/KHS duo Chuck Jenkins and Sean Donavan.

The first selection came within 20 minutes when Tinker and Zachary dropped Dana and the rest of the group, never to be seen again. Tinker was struck with an untimely flat with about 4-5 miles to go. Unfortunately the leader forgot bring a quick fill and raced the remaining 4 miles on a flat tire! Tinker gave up his lead to the 18 year old future XC star and finished just 2 minutes down on Zach.  As always gracious and appreciative of any great riding Tinkerís only comments were: 

ĒI'm happy with second place and that racing!!  This was a great course and I'm happy with my finish.Ē



1. Zachary Valdez              2:18

2. David Tinker Juarez       2:20

3. Dana Weber                   2:23

4. Sean Donovan                2:25

5. Charles Jenkins              2:26



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