Matter and Rinehart take wins, both riders on track for the Triple Crown
Photos by: Bruce Adelsman
Brian Matter (Gear Grinder/Trek) captured up his second Chequamegon 40 win with a vicious attack two miles to go in the 40-mile race, setting a course record of 2:02:55.7 in the process. His attack dropped Cole House (BMC) who, taking risks on the final downhill corner, nearly caught Matter at the line and finished less than a second behind the race winner. Steve Tilford of Topeka, Kan., who initially went with Matter's final move, finished third. Dewey Dickey finished 6th.
In the women's Chequamegon 40, Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) also won her second race in 2:19:31.3. Her time was five seconds slower than Lea Davison's record time in 2008. Rinehart won in 2007 and finished second last year. She beat former champions Kyia Anderson (Hidden Bay/Cannondale) and Catherine Walberg (Team Kenda).
House, of Oneida, Wis., initially blew the race wide open in the early stages, whittling a lead group of 40 riders down to eight 16 miles into the race. These eight were later joined by another seven riders pulled along by Mark and Jesse Lalonde. Mark eventually placed fourth, over a minute down on Matter. Matter made his first move when the course entered the rolling Birkie hills with nine miles to go, and only House and Tilford could respond.
"I got on the gas with two miles to go in the last section of singletrack," said Matter of Sheboygan, Wis. House, whose legs were cramping, stayed in the saddle and tried to maintain Matter's pace up the final climb. "I took a big chance on the last corner and railed it as hard as I could," House said, but it wasn’t enough to catch Matter, who was a member of last year’s US World Championship cyclocross team.
Rinehart won the women's race teaming up with the men racing around her. "I got in a good group of guys and just focused on their rear wheels," she said. "The scariest part of the race was on the pavement. If you can survive that …." Rinehart rode the last few miles of the race alone, but by then she had established a comfortable seven minute lead on second-place Anderson.
Jake Richards of Calloway, Minn. won the 16-mile Short and Fat race in 51:57.4, beating Tom Meyer of Seeley, Wis. by six seconds. Meyer was riding a singlespeed. Former Chequamegon 40 champion Cindy Bijold grabbed the women’s Short and Fat title. Brian and Kim Eppen (Mercy/Specialized) of Iowa City, Iowa, won the tandem race, placing 38th overall in 2:12:51.1 despite breaking a chain.
The Chequamegon (pronounced shwam eh gin) is one of the largest mountain bike races in the nation. Each year it follows the same cross country ski trails as the world famous Birkenbeiner ski marathon from Hayward to Cable, in Northern, Wisconsin. This year the Chequamegon 40 alone hosted 1,778 racers.
By winning, both Jenna Zander and Brian Matter keep their hopes alive for winning the Midwest Triple Crown, an unofficial competition including the three major point-to-point mountain bike races in the Midwest. The Ore-to-Shore in Marquette, Michigan and Iceman Cometh Challenge from Kalkaska to Traverse City, Michigan join Chequamegon in the Triple Crown challenge.
Rinehart and Matter kicked off their bid for the Triple Crown by winning the Ore-to-Shore August 8th. The final race comes November 7th, when racers will go head to head for 27 miles from Kalkaska to Traverse City. Matter has had great results at the Iceman including a second place finish in 2008, just 7 seconds behind Jeremiah Bishop (Monavie-Cannondale.com).
Matter is the only rider to ever win the elusive Triple Crown, winning all three races in 2004. For the first time in history two riders now have a shot at taking the Triple Crown title.
Stay with MTBracenews.com for all your mountain bike race coverage including the Iceman Cometh Challenge, November 7th in Traverse City, Michigan.