MSC#5: Wildflower Rush
Written by: Ernie Watenpaugh
The Mountain States Cup returned to Colorado this past weekend for the legendary Wildflower Rush in Crested Butte, Colorado. A hefty winter snow pack retreated just in time to allow endurance racers from all regions of the Rocky Mountains a chance to sample the world famous singletrack of Crested Butte.
The Clif Bar 40 cross-country race connected such infamous trails as the scorching descent off Strand Hill, to the lung bursting climbs of Deer Creek. Dry dusty conditions with close to twenty creek crossings, mixed with over 7500 vertical feet of climbing through endless fields of wildflowers left riders both battered and awe struck as they crossed the finish line. Brutally long climbs followed by steep technical descents made for wobbly limbs, which led to numerous mechanicals and DNF’s.
Continuing his winning streak, Mike West (Yeti Cycles) crushed the pro men’s field with his second straight MSC cross-country win of the season.
A neutral start from the base of the Crested Butte ski resort allowed the men time to warm their legs in the early morning mountain sun before attacking the bounty of singletrack.
As the pace car pulled off and the riders entered the true course, a strong group of ten began to distance themselves from the pack as they began the first set of climbs.
Jay Henry (Tokyo Joe’s), West, Joshua Bezecny (Trek Store-Boulder), and Tim Allen (Niner-Ergon) broke away as the course rounded the front side of Mount Crested Butte. Heavy dust clouds slowed the trailing riders, but hard charging locals Brian Smith and Travis Scheefer (both of Alpine Orthopaedics) were able to pick there way through the chaos. Working as a team, the natives were able to bridge up to the leaders.
Deer Creek Trail proved to be the deciding factor of the race, as large gaps began to separate and shuffle the entire field, including the leaders.
Henry suffered a mechanical coming off the summit of Deer Creek, which allowed West, Smith, and Allen to gain from his misfortune. Henry managed to continue the race, and finished 11th.
Veteran downhiller West was able to hang on during the climbs, and escape on the extended descents to take the win much in the same fashion as in Angel Fire three weeks prior. Brian Smith was able to use his local trail knowledge to snag second, while Tim Allen held on for third.
The women’s pro race played out much like the men’s, with several riders breaking off the front, while small groups formed in the back.
The early season domination of Sage Wilderman (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) was put on hold, as Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joe’s) and Jennifer Smith (Alpine Orthopaedics) were able to suppress the younger Wilderman over the longer course.
Reeves and Smith distinguished themselves from the rest of the field by exchanging turns off the front for the entire forty-mile course. Reeves would prove only slightly better over the duration of the race, taking the win from the Butte local Smith, by a mere one minute.
Teal Stetson-Lee (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) rode an impressive solo race to take a solid third place.
The Mountain States Cup Series continues it’s high alpine tour with a return to Telluride, Colorado for the second annual Full Tilt July 8-10. Big climbs and high altitude will definitely bring the climbers out for this one.
Special thanks to Vast Action for all the incredible photos. Racers can find and purchase all of their personal race shots from all of the Wildflower Rush events and all MSC races at - www.vastaction.com.
1 Mike West Yeti Cycles 3:27:18
2 Brian Smith Alpine Orthopaedics 3:28:00 42.19
3 Tim Allen Niner-Ergon-Stans 3:31:46 4:28.06
4 Travis Scheefer Alpine Orthopaedics 3:33:50 6:32.62
5 Joshua Bezecny Trek Bike Store - Bo 3:34:25 7:06.93
6 Peter Kalmes HoneyStinger/Trek 3:34:49 7:31.48
7 Brad Bingham Moots Cycles 3:34:50 7:32.48
8 Chris Baddick University of Bath 3:37:12 9:54.13
9 Ernie Watenpaugh Peloton Cycles/Speci 3:38:32 11:14.28
10 Colin Osborn Honey Stinger/TREK O 3:39:21 12:03.71
11 Jay Henry Tokyo Joes 3:41:05 13:47.14
12 Benjamin Moore 3:42:34 15:16.12
13 Colton Andersen Rocky Mountain Choco 3:42:44 15:25.83
14 Jason Holbrook Yeti/Jett Pro XC Tea 3:44:02 16:44.32
15 Brian Riepe Mountain Flyer 3:44:05 16:46.78
16 Macky Franklin Yeti / Sram 3:45:29 18:11.66
17 Barkley Robinson Orange Peel 3:45:46 18:28.05
18 Nick Gould Directory Plus/ Trek 3:46:23 19:05.71
19 Max Taam Honey Stinger / Trek 3:49:23 22:05.59
20 Amar Mannina Rocky Mounts/Izze 3:49:55 22:37.12
21 Anthony Iannacito Rocky Mountain Racin 3:50:36 23:17.85
22 Nick Truitt Yeti/Jett Pro XC Tea 3:53:09 25:51.40
23 Jordan Williford Epic Endurance Cycli 3:53:26 26:08.22
24 Ezekiel Hersh NoTubes 3:57:02 29:44.37
25 Greg Lewis Directory Plus/Trek 3:58:07 30:49.01
26 Lewis Gaffney Team F.I.Taos 3:59:41 32:23.41
27 Len Zanni Honey Stinger/ Trek 4:02:27 35:09.00
28 Chris Brandt Honey Stinger/Trek 4:05:43 38:25.71
29 Miles Venzara Directory Plus/Trek/ 4:05:59 38:41.32
30 Eric Emsky Durango Land and Hom 4:08:18 40:59.95
31 Dylan Stucki Mafia Racing / Pabst 4:20:12 52:54.31
32 Brad Johnson Bicycle Ranch 4:27:20 1:00:02.18
Pl Bib License Name Team Result Time Back
1 Gretchen Reeves Tokyo Joes 3:59:52
2 Jennifer Smith Alpine Orthopaedics/ 4:00:54 1:02.12
3 Teal Stetson-Lee Rocky Mountain Choco 4:14:49 14:57.95
4 Sage Wilderman Rocky Mountain Choco 4:28:11 28:19.69
5 Jennifer Gersbach Honey Stinger/Trek 4:35:16 35:24.87
6 Heidi Rentz Vermont Bike Tours 4:46:18 46:26.71
7 Sonya Bugbee Epic Endurance Racin 4:50:38 50:46.40
8 Anna Fortner The T.E.A.M. 4:51:34 51:42.59
9 Rebecca Gross Velo Bella 4:59:27 59:35.50
10 Sarah Rawley Yeti Beti 5:00:40 1:00:48.41
11 Sarka Ruzickova Epic Endurance Cycli 5:09:08 1:09:16.79