For Immediate Release
Moab, Utah (14th October, 2007)–Six hours after Chris Eatough (Trek Volkswagen), and Jari Kirkland (Boulder Performance Network) won the Men’s and Women’s Solo races, more than 100 of the 800+ tents and campsites still stood in what had been a tent city for the weekend of the EAS 24 Hours of Moab, 13-14 October. 388 teams, including 1396 riders, and an estimated 2500 spectators had travelled a long way to be in this isolated mountain biking paradise. People sat at their camps swapping stories of a weekend they will remember, for many the party was still not over. They were staying another night.
“It’s fun to race here. That was the main reason I came. It’s a super-fun race,” said Rebecca Rusch (Specialized-Red Bull), who finished second to Jari Kirkland in the Women’s Solo class.
Throughout the night team support crews had entertained themselves in a multitude of fun and friendly ways. One crew had placed a garden gnome behind a ramp they’d placed on the course. A sign read ‘Gnome Jump. Win a Pez!’ Several competitors cleared the gnome, but none stopped to collect the prize.
Laird Knight, the event director, could not have been more pleased with the way it ran. He said: “The weather, the people and the sportsmanship.” Those are the three things that made this event special. “The weather was probably the best it has ever been for this race. The people that race here have a heart, a toughness, and a love of racing and each other that lights me up. There are so many stories of great sportsmanship, I can’t even begin to recount them. This is the culmination of a very successful second annual National 24 Hours Points Series. I’m very excited, it bodes so well for next year’s series.”
Italian 24-hour mountain biking champion, Lorenza Menapace (Trentino/Salomon) was not prepared for her Moab experience. “What does this mean: Gudjob? I hear this a lot. It is not like Italy where the riders shove you with their elbows,” she said. “I like to race here. The people on the course and beside the course, they are all more friendly and supportive than in Italy,” she added.
With team names like Jack Mormon Militia (from Provo, Utah), and Momentary Lapse of Reason (Fort Collins, Colorado), the light heartedness extended to the riders as well as their support staff. But the frivolity was not restricted to the slower riders, both of the named teams won their racing class.
The 14.5 mile course, located at Behind the Rocks, some 12 miles outside Moab, has become legendary among the riders since it was introduced to the mountain biking world 13 years ago. 2000 Olympic team member Travis Brown (Trek), a veteran of the Moab course, commented that the sand, which varies from year to year, was deeper this year. “Also, this is a rough course, and there’s lots of technical riding in it. It’s not an easy course at all,” he said. Brown, now retired from racing, is a test rider for Trek and was there riding in the Just for Fun class.
For those interested in a serious race, there was a lot on offer. Because of the number and quality of riders that compete at Moab, the world class course, the large cash purses, the unique RealTime online results services, and the fact that it is a Granny Gear Productions event–the company that introduced the 24-hour racing format to mountain biking–the 24 Hours of Moab has long been regarded as the defacto world championships.
This year the riders competed for a share of a $16,200 purse, and the racing was highlighted by some truly outstanding performances in the women’s and amateur fields.
Renowned ultra-endurance rider, Chris Eatough, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was racing here for the first time in the solo class. After following Josh Tostado (Giant-Smith), of Breckenridge, Co. around lap one, Eatough unleashed a devastating bolt of endurance energy that none of his rivals could match. The Trek rider was never challenged thereafter. He finished with a total of 13 laps in 22:59. “I was surprised he went so early, normally he doesn’t like to get into the really serious racing until about two laps in,” commented Eatough’s crew chief, Zach Vestal. After the race, Eatough said, “It always feels good to win a 24-hour race, because it’s such a long time to be on the bike, and it takes so much preparation,” and he added that the main appeal of the Moab race to him is the sheer scale of the event and the number and quality of the racers. Accomplished multi-sport athelete, Travis Macy, took second place, and 24 Hour National Series leader, Rob Lichtenwalner, took third place and sealed his series win.
The Women’s Solo class produced some of the most outstanding racing of the weekend. Jari Kirkland, of Boulder, Colorado, was leading last year’s race when it was cancelled due to hypothermic conditions. She came back this year in the best condition of her life and a firm intention to win. Rebecca Rusch, of Ketchum, Idaho, pressed hard for the first eight hours and then started to feel the effects of a long, hard season. “I had to stop and nap for a couple of hours,” she reported at the end, after finishing second. Kirkland was not willing to ease up. “I didn’t want to go that hard, but with all those girls chasing I felt I had to,” she explained at the finish. Kirkland’s urgency propelled her to complete the 14 laps in 24:02, the same number of laps as Eatough, and more than Macy.
Behind Rusch, Lisse Daugard-Gordon moved up from seventh place after nine hours of racing to cross the finish line in third. “It’s all new to me. I’m just excited to be here racing against these guys. It’s quite a deal to race with Riva (Rusch) and Jari,” said Lisse, an experienced collegiate cyclist competing in her third 24-hour race.
The Duo Pro class was won by the Gary Fisher/Tokyo Joes team of Nat Ross and Mike Janelle, who completed 18 laps in 22:55. “We could have ridden longer, but we figured our first place was secure, so we decided to stop there and have a beer,” said Ross. Second place went to the Ambiguous relay duo of Chris Peters and Julian Gasiewski, who were delighted with their result. “We’ve raced here several times before, but this was our first Duo. We were hoping for 16 laps and a top five result, but we rode 17 laps and got second place,” said Peters. Only ten minutes behind the Ambiguous team, occupying third place, came the Bikers Edge/TFMB team of Jake Pantone and Jonny Hintze.
The MonaVie/Cannondale Co-ed Pro/Am team led overall for most of the race, and completed 20 laps in 24:29. MonaVie/Cannondale Pros captain Bart Gillespie broke a chain close to the halfway point, but was able to fix it without losing the team’s position. The Desert Mud team never looked like challenging for first place, but maintained an even pace to take second place with a time of 23:58 for 18 laps, 14 minutes ahead of Feedback Sports who completed their 18 laps in 24:12.
King and Queen of Moab awards, given to the male and female riders with the fastest lap times, were won by Bart Gillespie of the MonaVie/Cannondale Pro team, with a time of 1:02:13, and Willow Koerber of the Sid Vicious team, with a time of 1:14:04.
With so many more stories to tell, we suggest you visit www.grannygear.com for the low down, and a wide range of pictures from around the venue and the race track.
source: Granny Gear Press Office