The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde got off to a warm start 7am
Saturday morning. With over 1,700 riders on hand, a full festival environment
accompanied the race, tents, trucks, and racers could be seen in every
Racing started up with warm temperatures and clear skies but scattered showers
rolled through throughout the day at one point dropping hail on some the riders
The racing was as exciting as ever on the Mesa Verde course
just outside Cortez, Colorado.
The solo events turned into a race of attrition as Yuki
Ikeda (Topeak/Ergon) held the lead for most of the day until his stomach
started giving him problems late in the day. That left the door open for anyone
who was left after over 100 miles of challenging singletrack riding.
Paul Gorbold (Street Swell) was is prime position to take
over the lead once Ikeda faultered. Gorbold had been riding strong all day and
continued to put in a quality performance once he took over the lead.
Gorbold completed 8 laps on the 16-mile race.
Gorbold was followed by a pair of Utah riders Erik
Harrington (RMCC) finished in second with Rich Abbott (Revolution/Peak
Fasteners) taking third.
The women’s solo event featured a much different scenario
with experienced ultra-endruance rider Jari Kirkland (Alpine Orthopedics)
riding in the lead all day. Kirkland excels at challenging distances and she
proved that with a commanding ride in the top spot.
Erin Collins turned in an impressive ride for second
followed by Pam Seidler (Basalt Bike) in third.
Many of the podiums were unsettled until the final lap but
according to race announcer Larry Grossman, the most exciting race of the day
was the coed duo race, which became a two team battle between the team of
Eszter Horanyi and Jonathon Davis (LW’s) against Jen Hanks and Shannon Boffeli
These two teams rode within seconds of each other all day
long. 10 seconds separated the two men after lap one until Jen Hanks put her
team into the lead on lap two. Davis brought them back together with his next
effort only to have Hanks retake the lead on the following lap.
It happened again on the next rotation with Hanks coming in
just seconds in front of Horanyi. Sensing an opportunity Davis put in a big
attack and hammering out his 4th and final lap in 1:17 giving his
team a 5-minute lead with just one lap left. Hanks brought back 3 of those
minutes by the finish not enough to regain the lead as Eszter Horanyi crossed
the line with the well-deserved win.
Fastest laps of the day went to Payson McElveen (Rocky
Mountain Chocolate Factory) and Jen Gersbach (Honey Stinger/Trek), both setting
new course records. McElveen turned in a scorching 1:08 with Gersbach throwing
down a 1:20.
Fast riding was the norm in Mesa Verde as two teams broke
the 9 lap barrier with the 4-Person Male teams of Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Factory and Rooster’s/Biker’s Edge both completed 10 laps.