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Cactus Hugger - St. George, Utah

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |May 6, 2012 5:10 PM
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Erica Tingey and Alex Grant Claim Wins at the Inaugural Cactus Hugger 

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Once again riders migrated to St. George for a weekend of racing action. This time for the inaugural Cactus Hugger, which promised a totally unique racecourse. 

Turn out for the race was a bit smaller than the earlier Intermountain Cup stop in March but most of the big guns were on site including Alex Grant (Cannondale) and Brent Pontius (Rooster's/Biker's Edge) who dominated the March event.

The women's race was packed with the best Utah has to offer including names like Kathy Sherwin (Stan's NoTubes) and Erica Tingey (Kuhl/Rocky Mountain).

The men completed 4 laps on the roughly 6 mile race circuit. The lead group broke away early and included Grant, Pontius, and Duff Johnson (Kuhl/Rocky Mountain). The leaders surged to a 10-15 second gap over an evenly-matched group of chasers determined to bring them back. Chris Holley (Mad Dog), Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness), and Casey Zaugg (CoCoNutz Fuel) battled throughout the race to catch the leaders. 

Just past the halfway mark Alex Grant made his move taking the lead once a for all. He gapped Johnson and a fading Brent Pontius who was beginning to feel the heat and the pounding from the rocky racecourse.

While Grant stretched his lead to nearly a minute by the end Duff Johnson kept a steady gap of just 15 seconds over the chasers. Never letting them bridge up, Johnson was confident he could descend the final downhill faster than anyone on his wheel.

After just under 2 hours Alex Grant would take the win with Duff Johnson second and Chris Holley third. 

The women's race was a heated battle between the top-4 riders. Each had a chance to take the lead throughout the first half of the event. Even at the finish the top-4 were separated by less than 2 minutes.

Off the start Erica Powers (Revolution/Peak Fasteners) took the lead on dirt road but she was quickly overtaken by the lead group of Sherwin, Tingey, KC Holley (Mad Dog), and Jen Hanks (Epic Brewing/MTBRaceNews.com). 

The lead group stayed pretty much intact throughout the first lap with each rider powering through the technical rock climbs and punishing descents. 

Sherwin held a small lead at the end of lap one but Tingey quickly closed with a powerful move on the double track. Tingey held Sherwin's wheel until the next double track climb when she attacked the race leader with a decisive move on the steepest part of the climb.

Tingey soloed off the front for the remainder of the race. Kathy Sherwin stayed strong in second while Hanks and Holley traded attacks trying to decide third place. Hanks took a small gap into the final technical descent. Holley gave it her all on the finishing descent but came up just short as Hanks crossed the line just one second ahead.

Results

Pro Women

1,

Erica Tingey

Kuhl/Rocky Mountain

1.34.18

2,

Kathy Sherwin

Stanís No Tubes Elite

1.35.05

3,

Jen Hanks

Epic Brewing/MTBRaceNews.com

1.36.05

4,

KC Holley

Mad Dog

1.36.06

5,

Erika Powers

Revolution/Peak Fasteners

1.43.07

6,

Emma Garrard

Specialized Triathlon

1.45.20


Pro Men

1,

Alex Grant

Cannondale

1.46.11

2,

Duff Johnson

Kuhl/Rocky Mountain

1.47.13

3,

Chris Holley

Mad Dog

1.47.26

4,

Casey Zaugg

CoCo Nutz Fuel

1.48.03

5,

Bryson Perry

Lifetime Fitness

1.48.22

6,

Brent Pontius

Roosterís/Bikerís Edge

1.52.50

7,

Jon Russell

Euclid

1.52.54

8,

Shannon Boffeli

Epic Brewing/MTBRaceNews.com

1.54.09

9,

Will McDonald

Cole Sport

1.55.23

10,

Troy Heithhecker

Roosterís

1.56.44

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