Kabush and Sears Win Moab Rocks with Payson McElveen and Jenny Smith Taking the Mag 7 Stage Win
Written by: Marlee Dixon
The third and final day of Moab Rocks is as exhilarating as it is exhausting. After two days of physical XC racing, most racers wake up tired; their bodies aching. Todays’ course wasn’t going to provide any relief as it was just as challenging and demanding as the previous two days.
At 8:30 the shot goes off and competitors head out onto Gemini Bridges road. The starting pace was mellower this morning due to a stiff headwind on the road. Today is the day to finalize positions with most people looking to push hard to try and gain position. The lead men waited until off of the first flat road and onto the steep climb to make their attack. From there everyone spread out, pushing as hard as they could up the first 500’ climb. Next is a loose quick dirt road descent followed by a fast flat road before climbing up Gemini Bridges road. After the first 6 miles of dirt road; the course veers onto the Getaway single track, a moderately technical climb with some flowy dirt single track. It’s a six mile climb up Getaway and then everyone is rewarded with the screaming descent; Bull Run. It’s rocky, it’s fast and it makes the climb worth it. The descending continues after Bull Run with more rocky, adrenaline-charged singletrack including the trail, Great Escape. After descending what feels like forever, the course turns back on Gemini Bridges road where riders climb up and over the 500’ hill before sprinting down to the start. Today’s course is a tough 2500’ of climbing over 28 miles.
Almost all of the climbing takes place in the first 15 miles making the rest of the course pure joy. If you haven’t fallen in love with the trails in Moab yet, today will leave you smiling ear to ear as you remember the thrill of the course. Moab Rocks encompasses three very different trail systems, each with their own unique challenges and rewards. It’s a perfect start to the race season as you’re sure to leave Moab tired and sore, with memories and experiences you won’t forget.
Coming into day 3, Geoff Kabush (Yeti/Maxxis) had a 9 second overall lead over 2nd place Payson McElveen (Orange Seal). 3rd place Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) was only 30 seconds back. Today all racers started off cautious on the flat windy road, but once off of the flat road, McElveen attacked and right behind him was Kabush. McElveen pushed the pace the entire first half of the race, maintaining a 30 second lead on the climb. Once on the single track descent, Kabushwas able to make up time and catch up to him. On the final road, McElveen again pushed ahead but was only able to get a 5 second lead on Kabush. McElveen won stage 3 in a time of 1:57:26 but Kabush keeps the overall GC by 4 seconds with a 3 day ride time of 5:26:59. McElveen finishes 2nd overall (5:26:55) and in 3rd is Justine Lindine (Apex/NBX) (5:30:34).
For the women’s pro race, Sparky Sears (Pivot/MRP) was in the lead to start. She pushed the pace up the road trying to distance herself from her competition. Not far back was Jenny Smith (Kenda/Cannondale) and behind her, Marlee Dixon (Pivot/Pearl Izumi). Once on the singletrack climb, Smith caught Sears and the two rode together for a little while before Smith was able to gain the lead and distance herself. Smith won the stage in a time of 2:28:13 but it wasn’t enough of a lead to win the overall. Sears wins the overall in a 3 day ride time of 6:54:44, followed by Smith in 2nd (6:59:38) and Dixon in 3rd (7:05:28).