Desert Rampage - St. George, Utah
written by: Shannon Boffeli
Saturday, riders from all across Utah gathered, as they do every year, in St. George, Utah for the 16th annual Desert Rampage. And once again they were awarded with near perfect weather and phenomenal dirt to kick start the 2011 race season.
The Rampage always draws a strong crowd of riders itching to conquer their first mountain bike race of the year. This year's Pro men's field was 25 strong, packed with the best riders in the state.
Along with dirt racing stalwarts like Alex Grant (Cannondale) and Mitchell Petersen (Lifetime Fitness) were two riders returning from the road racing scene Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness) and Dave Harward (Canyon's Bicycle).
Youngsters Keegan Swenson (Whole Athlete) and Noah Talley (Revolution/Peak Fasteners) were also on hand. Swenson and Talley went one-two in last year's XC national championships and will be exciting to watch all throughout the season.
At the start, Harward went out hard and got a gap when a small crash stopped most of the field. His lead was short-lived as Perry, Grant, Peterson, and Swenson made their way to the front and started drilling it.
The group battled for two of the four laps until Petersen was dropped and Bryson Perry was beset by a nasty string of bad luck. First, he crashed while trying to pass a lapped rider. He recovered and continued to chase until a broken chain forced him to coast his way to the start/finish line. Finally, he grabbed a loaner bike to finish the final lap. Sadly, for the Lifetime rider, he eventually flatted and was forced to run over a mile to the finish.
While Perry's luck was crumbling Swenson and Grant carried on their duel. Despite Grant's best efforts he was unable to shake the Whole Athlete rider until the fourth and final lap.
Grant's first race of the year turned out to be a win with Keegan Swenson coming home in second.
Mitchell Petersen took third followed by Brent Steinberg (Livetrainrace.com). Harward took the final podium spot in fifth after spending the first two laps outside the top-10.
The women's event was equally exciting with a fierce group of competitors on hand.
Last year's winner Lynda Wallenfels (LWCoaching.com) was joined by Elete rider Sarah Kaufmann, White Pine Touring's Erica Tingey, and KC Holley (Trek 29er Crew).
Off the line, Holley made the first move briefly getting out front before Tingey took over driving the pace up the first climb.
Tingey's antics managed to drop everyone except Wallenfels and Kaufmann.
It was now Wallenfels turn to take control. The smooth riding St. George resident did not disappoint as she moved into the lead and quickly took control of the race.
Gapping her breakaway companions Wallenfels was able to ride her own race while putting time into her rivals.
Behind the leader Kaufmann and Tingey stayed wheel to wheel throughout the race with the final order being decided on the final rocky descent to the finish.
By the finish Kaufmann held just enough of a lead to take second place with Tingey coming in third.
KC Holley took fourth with Tokyo Joe's rider Lydia Tanner taking fifth.
- Greg and Chucky Gibson (TruckerCo.com) are preparing for the Cape Epic in South Africa this spring. The duo will be heading the the eight-day MTB stage race in several weeks to compete as a team.
- Heavy racing traffic was again a problem as several hundred racers, from Sport to Pro, were sent out on the primarily singletrack course at the same time. Many riders voiced their frustrations after the race.
1, Lynda Wallenfels (LWCoaching.com)
2, Sarah Kaufmann (Elete/Roaring Mouse)
3, Erica Tingey (White Pine Touring)
4, KC Holley (Trek 29er)
5, Lydia Tanner (Tokyo Joes)
6, Jenelle Kremer (Revolution/Peak Fasteners)
7, Jill Damman (Moots/Ibex)
1, Alex Grant (Cannondale)
2, Keegan Swenson (Whole Athlete/Specialized)
3, Mitchell Peterson (Lifetime Fitness)
4, Brent Steinberg (Livetrainrace.com)
5, David Harward (Canyon Bicycles)
6, Noah Talley (Revolution/Peak Fasteners)
7, Greg Gibson (TruckerCo.com)
8, Jake Pantone (Rooster's/Bikers Edge)
9, Chuck Gibson (TruckerCo.com)
10, Kevin Day (Kuhl)
11, Duff Johnson (Kuhl)
12, Scott Allen (Canyon Bicycle)
13, Johnny Hintze (Roosters/Bikers Edge)
14, Shannon Boffeli (iRide Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com)
15, Chad Harris (Racer's Cycle Service)
16, Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness)
17, Taylor Foss (Kuhl)
18, Ryan Ashbridge (Revolution/Peak Fasteners)
19, Geoffrey Montague (Delta 7 Sports)
20, Brandon Firth (Rocky Mountain)
21, Jamie Morgan (Erikson Cycles)
22, Mike Driver (Livetrainrace.com)