Park City Point 2 Point

Larissa Connors Repeats and Alex Grant Makes Crushes in his Return to the Point 2 Point

Written by: Shannon Boffeli @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team

Saturday saw the 10th edition of the Park City Point 2 Point endurance mountain bike race in Park City, Utah.

In it’s tenth year, and ninth consecutive sellout, the Point 2 Point reached new heights in racer satisfaction and competition. With a field of 350 hearty souls and some the North America’s best mountain bike racers toeing the line, the Point 2 Point got rolling just as the sun crested the mountains; seventy-five miles of endless singletrack and over 10,000 feet of climbing lay ahead.

Riders come from all over to enjoy and suffer on the miles and miles of Park City’s gold certified mountain bike trails capping off the racing season and hopefully taking home some cash and prizes too.

The sun rises on the 10th edition of the PCP2P. Photo by: Jay Dash

Giving away almost $12,000 in cash for podium finishers and thousands more in prizes, the Point 2 Point gives riders everything they could imagine and more. And once they throw in unique prizes like the “I am Somebody Prize,” a free Scott bike that goes to a randomly selected race finisher and the Red Lantern prize package, every participant has a chance to come away with more than just an exceptional singletrack experience.

This year’s event saw top-notch riders like Geoff Kabush (Yeti/Maxxis), teammates Ben Sonntag and Russell Finsterwald (Clif), Aussie Ryan Standish (Orange Seal/Merida), 6-time P2P winner Alex Grant (Cannondale/Gear Rush), Jamey Driscoll (Pivot/Maxxis), and youngster Zach Calton (Spry/Legacy).

The leaders started off on what seemed a leisurely pace for the first hour before Jamey Driscoll heated things up getting off the front and creating the first selection of the day.

The chase group made contact with Driscoll around mile 30, with all the top talent still represented in the group. Rob Squire briefly gave it a go trying to break things up on the long Corvair and John’s trail descents but couldn’t shake the top talent.

Alex Grant rolls through the aspens on his way to a win. Photo by: Jay Dash

On the subsequent climb Finsterwald, Grant, and impressive 21-year-old Zach Calton began their rise to the top of the race.

At the Park City feedzone, mile-53 in the race, this trio attacked the final big climb of the day wheel to wheel. The climb up Armstrong trail is over 1,000 vertical feet of winding singletrack and unrelenting elevation gain. It has also been the location of the decisive attack in each of Alex Grant’s six previous P2P wins.

“We we’re rolling up Armstrong at a pretty good pace,” Grant shared after the finish. “Russell was leading and seemed to be feeling strong. I could feel Zach suffering a little bit and suddenly Russell said ‘I gotta stop’. I wasn’t sure what was up.”

After a few soft pedals to see if Finsterwald would continue on, Grant decided this was his time to go. The Cannondale rider flexed his climbing muscles and quickly opened a gap on his breakaway compatriots.

Behind the leader, Calton moved into the runner-up spot as Finsterwald was forced to dismount to negotiate a natural break of a secondary nature.

Sonntag, Standish, Driscoll, and Kabush were chasing hard behind.

Calton started to feel the first 55 miles in this final stretch and drifted back to the chasers with the Clif duo of Finsterwald and Sonntag shuffling Calton into the four spot.

In the end, no one could bring Alex Grant back. After missing several years because of injury and family life, Grant was back on the top step of the Park City Point 2 Point taking the win by over 4 minutes. This time greeted by his wife and daughters at the finish line.

Grant, the lone leader, was followed by Russell Finsterwald who was just seconds in front of his teammate Ben Sonntag.

Zach Calton looked poised to take the final podium spot. He put his head down sprinting toward what he thought was the line. In heartbreaking fashion however he missed the final turn into the finish. Calton was in sight of the finish line arch as dozens of spectators yelled, waived, jumped up and down and did anything they could to get his attention.

Sadly for the youngster, by the time he had corrected his route Jamey Driscoll and Geoff Kabush had snuck in to take the final step on the podium. Calton, recent winner of the Crusher in the Tushar, would have to settle for sixth.

Kabush had put in his familiar fast finish over the last 20 miles of the race. The former Canadaian national champion passed Standish on his way to the finish before disaster struck almost within sight of the line.

“I was on the final rocky descent and things were going really well until they weren’t.” said a bruised and battered Kabush at the finish. “I felt like I was downhilling really fast until I hooked a tree and ended up on the ground.”

Unfortunately for the Canadian, he went down on the Iron Bill descent which has almost no actual “ground’ as it is mostly just rocks piled on top of rocks. Kabush limped in for the final podium spot with torn up shorts, a bleeding hip, deep abrasions down his back, and a deep laceration on his left elbow that would require stitches to close.

One of the most talented women’s field ever assembled for the Park City Point 2 Point took the start Saturday morning. Defending champion Larissa Connors (Twenty20/Felt) would be challenged by previous P2P winner Evelyn Dong (Spry Cycles/NoTubes), Singletrack 6 winner and Canadian Jena Greaser (Gear Hub Sports/Rocky Mountain), Aspen Power of 4 winner Marlee Dixon (Pearl Izumi/Pivot), and 23-year-old Luna rider Hannah Finchamp.

As she did last year, Larrisa Connors got off to a fast start already opening up a big lead by the first feed zone at Deer Valley resort. Not far behind was Evelyn Dong and Marlee Dixon  who followed in third after getting past Greaser and Finchamp.

Larissa Connors flashes her characteristic smile on course. Photo by: Jay Dash

Connors appeared to be on a tear as she crested the first big climb before the Corvair descent. Dong continued to occupy the runner-up spot followed by Dixon with Finchamp closing in.

Dixon was able to hold off her challenger through the aspen-tree-maze of John’s trail but on the subsequent climb Finchamp’s climbing legs kicked in and she caught and passed Dixon opening up a several minute gap before the next descent where Dixon closed down the advantage to mere seconds before Finchamp dealt the final blow on the Armstrong climb.

All the action behind did nothing to bring back the sole leader as Larissa Connors’ lead continued to grow reaching just over 10 minutes by the finish.

Evelyn Dong rolled in second followed by Finchamp and Dixon in fourth.

The final podium spot of the day went to KC Holley (Kuhl) who is a veteran of the P2P and turned in one of her best rides overcoming Greaser, Meghan Sheridan (Bingham’s), and Nicole Tittensor (Scott) on her way to the podium.

Open women’s podium. Photo by: Jay Dash

As impressive a win as it was for Connors, what she did after the race was perhaps the highlight of her performance.

For the second year in a row, Connors, a school teacher, donated her $2,000 winner’s check to the Summit Bike Club junior development program. And after 75 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing Connors took her turn on the podium, grabbed a bite to eat and went out to ride another 28 miles. Why? Because she wanted to get over 100 miles in for the day.

Congratulations aren’t hard to find for P2P finishers. Photo by: Jay Dash

With all the podiums done and most the riders on their way home one prize was left for Jay Burke and the Park City Point 2 Point staff to hand out: The Red Lantern Prize Pack. An annual recognition of the final rider to cross the finish line, the red lantern is a special acknowledgement of the rider who pushed themselves the most to earn the title of Point 2 Point finisher.

This year’s lantern went to open women’s rider Lucie Kayser-Bril. Kayser-Bril dug deep and persevered to finish with a time of 12 hours and 45 minutes. Crossing the finish line just before dark with her husband and children cheering her in.

Over six hours after race leader Alex Grant finished, Lucie Kayser-Bril marked a successful end to the tenth edition of Utah’s premier mountain bike event; the Park City Point 2 Point.

Click Here for full results from the Park City Point 2 Point 

Larissa Connors prepares to chow down on a well deserved post race meal. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moab Rocks: Stage 3

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.

Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

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.

Payson McElveen doesn’t have much time to enjoy the view as he heads for a stage win. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

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.

Josiah Middaugh leads on the opening climb. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

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).

Sparky Moir Sears takes second on the day but wins the GC. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

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).

Click Here for Full Results From All Stages 

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Moab Rocks: Stage 2

Kabush Repeats as Jenny Smith Takes Her First Stage at Moab Rocks

Get ready for a completely different racecourse in Stage 2 (Klondike Bluffs) of Moab Rocks!

Payson McElveen leads Justine Lindeen through a maze of rocks on stage 2. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

The day started out similar to day 1- a beautifully cool, slightly overcast morning as racers warmed up for the day. At 8:28 the now familiar “Highway to Hell” rif blasted from the sound system and at 8:30 the shot rang signaling the start.

But today racers took off from the start, climbing quickly up the first 4 miles of rolling dirt road as each person was chomping at the bit to be first on the singletrack.

It’s a fast rolling climb up the road before racers cross onto a double track and into the trail system.   Once in the trail system, racers are heading up the rocks on rugged one track.  The Klondike Bluffs trail system is marked by paint spots on the rocks and although the rocks are gigantic and can be ridden in numerous directions, the painted trail markings keep cyclists from getting lost and off unrideable terrain.

Marlee Dixon on course at stage 2 of Moab Rocks. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

Today’s course was filled with punchy climbs/descents, technical rocky areas, loose dirt and is overall a cross country racers favorite course.   With 3,000’ of elevation in 25 miles, today was a challenging course that tested fitness and technical skills.

For the pro men Jeff Kabush (Yeti/Maxxis) led the men for most of the race.  With him was Payson McElveen (Orange Seal), Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) and Chris Baddick (Boulder Cycle Sport).  Thirty minutes into the race Baddick fell back and the top three men rode together for the entire race.

In the final push, Kabush (1:50:29) and McElveen (1:50:32) rode ahead finishing 3 seconds apart with Lindine another thirty seconds back (1:51:09).  For the overall, Kabush remains 1st (3:29:23) with McElveen nine seconds back (3:29:32) and Lindine moves into third (3:31:05).

Spark Sears leads Jenny Smith on stage 2. Photo courtesy of Moab Rocks

For the pro women Jenny Smith (Kenda/Cannondale) took the lead on the road climb followed by Marlee Dixon (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) and Sparky Sears (Pivot/MRP).  A few miles into the trail system, Sears moved up, passing Dixon and challenging Smith.

Smith and Sears rode the remainder of the race together until Smith took off in the last 5 miles for the win finishing in 2:19:04.  Sears finished 2nd (2:20:07) and Dixon in 3rd (2:24:07).   For the overall Sears remains first (4:24:12), Smith moves into 2nd (4:31:24) and Dixon in 3rd (4:32:40).

Click Here for Full Results From Stage 2 & GC

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Moab Rocks: Stage 1

Geoff Kabush and Sparky Sears Kick Off Moab Rocks with a Win

 

It’s 8:10am and racers are congregating at the local high school, music is playing and the energy is high.

The 2018 Moab Rocks stage race is about to start in downtown Moab, Utah; a town known as a world class mountain biking mecca.

riders: Geoff Kabush wins Stage 1 of the 2018 Moab Rocks. Following him is Chris Baddick who took second place. – Photo by: Gibson Pictures

With the familiar TransRockies starting song, “Highway to Hell”, bursting from the loudspeakers, racers lead out on a neutral road ride behind the local police escort.  After a few minutes, once climbing Sand Flats road, the police car pulls away and it’s go time.

Racers begin a fierce 14-mile climb up Sand Flats road.  It’s an undulating 3,300’ climb with steep sections, sandy areas, rocks, some headwind, sun, and an overall grueling climb to Lower Porcupine Singletrack trail (LPS).

– Photo by: Gibson Pictures

Once finished with the long road climb, racers veer right on to LPS and hit some fun windy singletrack, and the beginning of one of the most epic trails!  Porcupine Rim starts as a pedally descent, with large rocks, chunky sections, drops and specific lines to follow.  At several points racers are riding only a few feet from the 1000 foot cliff ledge.  If you have time, the views and scenery are spectacular.  For those racing, it’s a very physical descent where you have to be on point, paying attention to each turn and rock and watching the lines.  It’s technical and fast, a descent that will make you forget you are racing and leave you smiling; loving Moab. After descending 2,200’ racers finish on Porcupine Rim proper, smiling, exhausted and exhilarated about the first day of Moab Rocks.

– Photo courtesy of Jean McAllister

For the pro men, Josiah Middaugh (Midaugh Coaching) pulled away from the lead pack of men on the road climb.  The rest of the men worked together while he had a minute lead.  On the top of Porcupine Rim Middaugh crashed.  From there, Geoff Kabush (Yeti, Maxxis), Chris Baddick (Boulder Cycle Sport), and Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) rode together down Porcupine Rim finishing only seconds apart.  Kabush won in a time of 1:38:53, following right behind him was Baddick (1:38:58), and only another 30 seconds back was McElveen (1:39:00).

Sparky Moir Sears takes 1st Place Open Women/Stage 1 Moab Rocks. – Photo courtesy of Jean McAllister

For the pro women, the lead four women worked together, quickly pulling away at the start up the road climb.  Sparky Sears (Pivot), Jenny Smith (Kenda/ Carbondale), Chloe Cross (Whistler Mountain Bike), and Marlee Dixon (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) rode together, often leap-frogging each other for the first half of the road climb.  At one point, Sears pulled ahead and jumped up with a few guys, within eyesight she maintained a lead on the other girls.  With a headwind, today was a tough day to be out riding alone on Sand Flats road.  Riding in groups, the next three women rode close to each other.  Around mile 11, Dixon pushed ahead on a steep paved section.

Not long after, Cross blew up and Smith maintained a strong third place.  Once on the singletrack, Sears, a fast enduro racer, maintained her lead and finished first (2:04:05).  Behind her, Dixon took second (2:08:33) and Smith third (2:12:20).

Click Here for Full Results

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Moab Rocks Stage Race Preview

Are you bummed on the lack of snow this year?  Have you already made the mental switch over to bike season?  If so, this is a great time to start training for one of the best cross-country stage races in the US!  Moab Rocks is a 3 day cross country mountain bike race in Moab, Utah, that takes some of the regions best classic and new routes including Klondike, Porcupine Rim and Mag 7 and combines them into a three-day xc masterpiece in a fully supported format.

Photo by: John Gibson

Each year Moab Rocks hosts some of the top names in North American mountain biking.  Top competitors looking for an early-season bump to their fitness and the experience of Moab’s best trail networks flock to southern Utah, riders like: Geoff Kabush, Payson McElveen, Chris Baddick, Kris Sneddon, and Rotem Ishay will be pushing that pace at the front of the pack in 2018. Vying for the top female rider will be former Moab Rocks winners Liz Carrington and KC Holley along with top contenders like Jenni Smith, Marlee Dixon, Sparky Sears, Ksenia Lepikhina, and Liza Hartlaub.

Day 1:  Starting in downtown Moab, racers will line up and head out of town amongst crowds of onlookers.  The first 10 miles is a climb up Sand Flats road – perfect for the climbing legs, this is your opportunity to push yourself and get into position for the downhill.  Once at the top of the road, it’s left onto one of the most famous Moab trails.  Porcupine rim is a an extremely challenging and technical downhill trail that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.  With over 12 miles of descending, you’ll finish day one having fallen in love with Moab.

Lea Davison (3rd on Stage 2) leads teammate Maghalie Rochette (2nd on Stage 2) Photo by: John Gibson

Day 2: After an epic day one, day two is a true cross country race. Klondike Bluffs is a new trail system that features a lot of punchy short ascents and descents, rock features, and moderately technical riding.  Today’s course will keep you sharp with almost the entire 25 miles of technical single track racing.

Day 3: After two days of racing, there’s no letting up on the last day of Moab Rocks. Today is your opportunity to race hard and finish strong.  Starting at Gemini Bridges road, today racers begin with a 4-wheel drive dirt road climb followed by a short dirt road descent and then everyone is hammering again on the next road climb before getting onto the singletrack.  Once on the dirt, racers continue in an upward trend on moderately technical trails.  Finally over the climbing, it’s yet another epic descent on Bull Run.  Physical and technical, this descent will again leave you grinning.  But leave some in the tank, as there’s still some uphill before you’re home.  Racers finish by climbing back up the Gemini bridges road and descending back to the start.

Geoff Kabush enroute to winning Stage 3 and the final general classification of Moab Rocks. Photo by: Jean McAllister

With three days of back to back xc racing, Moab Rocks is the perfect jumpstart to mountain biking season.  Long known as one of the world’s most iconic mountain biking destinations, Moab has played host to riders from far and wide.  Featuring technical, desert riding, it’s a mountain bikers’ paradise.  If you’ve never been to Moab before, this is the perfect opportunity to ride some of the best trails in the area.   If you have ridden in Moab, then you know you’re in for some of the best mountain bike riding in the country.  All this wrapped up in a fun and friendly atmosphere, combining camaraderie and competition.

 

Riders live on the edge racing on the Upper Porcupine Singletrack. Photo by: John Gibson

Register today and start training for Moab Rocks, April 14th-17th, 2018.  Get ready to push yourself to the limit as you race against 150 other pros and amateurs.  Then prepare to relax in the warm desert afternoons, soaking up the sun and experiencing the best in Moab culture, with beer from Moab Brewery, nightly slideshows and awards.

For more information and to register visit: transrockies.com/moab-rocks.

Giddy up and get ready to ride Moab!

Photo by: John Gibson

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Park City Point 2 Point

Keegan Swenson Takes Sprint Victory Over Todd Wells While Larissa Connors Dominates the Women’s Field

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Saturday morning, the backcountry mountain bike spectacle known as the Park City Point 2 Point sounded the start canon. The race that normally ushers in Utah’s colorful fall blasted off but none of the cool temps, changing foliage, or damp hero dirt that usually accompany the event were on hand. Instead, summer conditions were in full force in the Utah high country.

The forecasted temperatures in Park City were hotter than ever but so was the competition at the 9th annual Point 2 Point. With a $2,000 winners purse the Point 2 Point always draws some top talent but 2017 featured a faster-than-ever group of men vying for the top positions. Highlights of that group included former national champions Todd Wells (Scott/Troy Lee) and Geoff Kabush (Scott), defending P2P champion Keegan Swenson (Cannondale), who passed up a trip to the world championships for a shot at defending his title, as well as a host of ultra-endurance honchos like Construction Zone Racing/Scott Sports teammates Kyle Trudeau and Fernando Riveros-Paez, Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar), and Justin Lindine.

Todd Wells cuts through the early morning sunlight. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Right from the gun it was clear this year’s P2P was going to be like no other. An hour in, despite miles of singletrack, no fewer than a dozen riders still occupied the lead group, and they were rolling fast.

Another hour of climbing only managed to dislodge two riders as a pack of 10 powered through the Deer Valley feed led by ’15 P2P champ Robbie Squire. All the top riders were represented with Geoff Kabush biding his time a few bike lengths off the back.

Around the halfway point, Swenson attacked, pushing the pace into the long enduro segment on the Corvair trail. A move that worked for him in 2016, Swenson popped more riders from the lead group but couldn’t shake Wells. By the time he entered the aspen-rooted maze known as John’s Trail, Swenson and Wells established a gap of a few seconds over the rest of the lead group.

Geoff Kabush rode to third place in his inaugural P2P. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

The two leaders stayed wheel to wheel and Kabush rejoined the affair as they climbed up and around Shadow Lake, the high-point of the race. As they descended down the 20-minute Crescent Mine Grade trail Kabush would blow a tire before they reached Park City Resort (Support Station #3), dropping him back a little more than 5 minutes.

With just over 20 miles left the lead duo now had a 2-minute gap on Kyle Trudeau and Ben Sonntag and over 5 minutes on Canadian, Geoff Kabush.

Wells and Swenson continued their two-man battle over the final mix of climbs, rocky descents, and unbroken singletrack from Park City Resort to the new finish line outside Skullcandy headquarters.

An unregistered participant spotted on course. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

After 75 miles the race came down to a sprint finish. Wells took the early lead out on the slightly downhill paved bike path that made up the final 200 meters of the Point 2 Point course. Swenson tucked in behind as both riders built up speed all along the finishing stretch. In fact, they were coming so fast that race director Jay Burke had to clear all the spectators from the finishing venue and pull up stakes on the finishing chute to make room for the elbow-to-elbow battle.

Both riders powered out of the saddle in their biggest gears, surging toward the line with Swenson popping out of the draft in perfect slingshot position to nip Wells at the line and take his second Point 2 Point title.

Eric Porter manuals his way to the finish line. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Geoff Kabush made an impressive final surge, posting the fastest time over the final 20 miles, taking minutes out of the leaders but coming up just short only a minute and a half behind at the finish.

Ben Sonntag rolled in for fourth just in front of Kyle Trudeau.

The ladies of the 2017 Point 2 Point provided their own firepower for this ultra-endurance event.

Larissa Connors smiling her way through the 75-mile P2P course. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Past winner Evelyn Dong (Liv) made her return to Park City and the P2P. Hannah Bingham (Eriksen), winner of the Steamboat Stinger, made her debut at the race as did TransSylvania Epic winner Kaysee Armstrong (Liv). Recent Pierre’s Hole 100k champion Caedran Harvey (Fitzgerald’s) was also on hand along with Breck 100 and Lutsen 99er champion Larissa Connors (Twenty20/Felt).

From the start the pace was high as Connors and Armstrong jumped to the front opening gaps early on.

Kaysee Armstrong testing her legs out west. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Connors quickly established herself as the early leader though, pulling away from Armstrong and the rest of the field in the winding one-track of Round Valley. The early climbs certainly didn’t slow Connors either as she steadily opened a gap to the chasers while picking off riders in the open men’s field that started in front of her.

A battle for second was brewing behind the lone leader however, Firecracker 50 winner Marlee Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) was riding just in front of Caedran Harvey as both riders climbed past Deer Valley and Shadow Lake over 50 miles into the race.

Dixon held about a minute lead until both riders entered the Park City feed together. Harvey left the feed just in front of Dixon and despite having several thousand feet of climbing in front of her, Harvey started to feel her best form of the day coming on.

Harvey made the best of it, putting almost 10 minutes into Dixon in the last 20 miles. Despite Caedran’s impressive surge Connors was too far-gone to even think about bringing back.

Larissa Connors had such a good day in fact that at the finish her time would have placed her in the top-20 of a stacked open men’s field.

After just over 7 hours of riding Connors crossed the line to claim another win in her long list of ultra-endurance triumphs this summer. In a surprise move Connors donated her entire $2,000 prize purse to the Summit Bike Club, a local youth mountain bike development team.

Connors took the win by almost 30 minutes over second-placed Caedran Harvey. Marlee Dixon held on for third over past P2P winner Evelyn Dong who finished fourth. Hannah Bingham took the final podium spot in fifth.

Once all the excitement, awards, and money had been dispersed the final finisher was still on course. Although the fastest finishers cross the line in just over 6 hours most riders in the Park City Point 2 Point take much longer to cross the line.

Josh Murphree collects the red lantern award after completing his first P2P. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Each year the P2P saves a special prize package for the Red Lantern, the final racer on course, recognizing the incredible effort of the rider who spent the longest time on their bike and persevered to the finish. This year Josh Murphree took home the Red Lantern prize who in his second attempt at the Point 2 Point finished the 75-mile course in 12 hours 52 minutes and looked surprisingly fresh doing so.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

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Moab Rocks: Stage 3

Canadians Dominate the Final Stage in Moab with Maghalie Rochette and Geoff Kabush Taking the 2017 Titles

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

Cloudy and overcast skies with mild temperatures again greeted riders for the final stage of Moab Rocks. Starting at the Gemini Bridges parking lot. Riders attack a steep, Jeep road climb before entering the Magnificient 7 trail area. Moab Rocks promoters have connected a flowy loop to challenge riders including some of the best singletrack available including the Bull Run and Great Escape descents.

Geoff Kabush (#42) leads the first climb of Stage 3. He would go on to win the overall classification of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Open Men

With just seconds separating the top riders going into stage three the open men’s race was sure to produce some major excitement.

A leisurely pace to the base of the first climb quickly changed as the leaders wound it up looking to decide who would become 2017 Moab Rocks champion.

At the start of the day Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) was just 50 seconds out of first place and was looking to challenge Canadian superstar Geoff Kabush (Scott) for the lead. Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar) wasn’t far back either and the ever-aggressive Chris Baddick (Boulder Cyclesport) was looking to continue his climb up the leader board having moving into fifth with his efforts yesterday.

The lead group got away early in a stage that featured much more singletrack and tougher passing than the previous days.

Justine Lindine (2nd overall) leads Geoff Kabush who eventually won Stage 3 and the overall general classification at Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Lindine indeed gave it his all throwing everything he could at Kabush but the lanky Canadian would not be shaken. Kabush’s combination of incredible fitness and outstanding skills on the bike once again proved too tough for the competition.

Although Lindine kept it close, Geoff Kabush took his third stage win of the race and the overall title finishing just nine seconds in front and adding to his endless list of victories on American soil.

Ben Sonntag capped off a consistent weekend taking third place on the day and third in the final GC.

This left the race for fourth overall to be decided between Baddick and Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit). Lideen struggled mightily with his injured thumb making it difficult for him to grip the bar with his left hand.

Tokyo Joes rider feeling the flow in Mag 7. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Baddick did his best to take advantage, pushing hard and dropping the Pivot rider. In the end he picked up over 2 minutes on Lideen but needed one more to takeover fourth in the GC.

Lideen managed just enough to keep his spot secure as Baddick finished fourth on the day but fifth in the stage race. Lideen rolled across the line seventh in today’s final stage.

Maghalie Rochette of the Luna Team-1st on Stage 3 and 1st overall. Photo by: John Gibson

Open Women

Stage 3 of Moab Rocks was a mellow start with racers bunched together in a peloton for the first mile before hitting the steep loose dirt climb of Gemini Bridges Road.

From there Maghelie Rochette (Clif Bar) started to take the lead, pushing fast up the climb.

GC leader Jena Greaser was right behind with Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles/DNA) following closely.

Once over the opening road climb Greaser took off, blazing down the road followed by Rochette but once climbing started up the next steep climb of Gemini Bridges road Rochette made her intentions clear and started to put some space on her competitors.

Once the women hit singletrack, Lea Davison (Clif Bar) with Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joes) right on her wheel; passed Dixon.

Ksenia Lepikhina leads Lea Davison in the single track. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Davison put some time on Lepikhina and caught up to Greaser who was having trouble maintaining her power and speed from the past few days.

Rochette continued to put the hammer down looking to put time on Greaser and steal the GC title on the last stage. She rode aggressively all the way to the finish.

Davison stayed in second position and although Greaser crashed, she held on for third for the day.

Lepikhina and Dixon bunny hopped each other at one point with Lepikhina finishing fourth followed by Dixon in fifth.

Rochette, having her strongest stage of the race, finished a full 5 minutes ahead of Greaser, taking the overall win.

Jena Greaser-3rd on Stage 3 and 2nd overall. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Greaser dropped to second in the GC followed by Dixon in third, Davison in fourth and Lepikhina in fifth.

The women put on a great show at this year’s Moab Rocks. The extremely competitive group produced three different stage winners with a change in GC leader each day.

Although amazing scenery was all around riders had little time to enjoy the views on a fast stage through Mag 7. Photo by: Jean McAllister

By any measure the 2017 Moab Rocks was a huge success: a sold out event, stacked fields with national and world champions, incredible trails, hard racing, exceptional camaraderie, and organization like a finely-tuned Swiss watch. The folks at TransRockies events know how to put on a first-class event and all those on hand hope this event continues for a long time to come.

Click Here for Full Results From All Categories Including Final GC Standings 

Gallery

Moab Rocks: Stage 2

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

Lea Davison of the Luna Team-3rd on Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Geoff Kabush wins Stage 2 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

The leaders of the Mens race in a group in the early stages of Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Jena Greaser-1st on Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Sparky Moir Sears hugs the rocks on stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Lea Davison (3rd on Stage 2) leads teammate Maghalie Rochette (2nd on Stage 2) Photo by: John Gibson

Rotem Ishay-6th Stage 2. Photo by: John Gibson

 

Moab Rocks: Stage 2

Kabush Takes Stage 2 While Jena Greaser Wins the Day and Leads the Women’s GC

 

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

Stage 2 of Moab Rocks is a stark contrast to day two. After a day filled with climbing, climbing, and more climbing, stage 2 offers up a fast, power course with no climbs lasting longer than 5 minutes.

The course encompasses the trails of the Klondike Bluffs riding area and packs in 2,700 feet of climbing in the form of unrelenting, short, power climbs. The climbs are followed by rugged slickrock descents with plenty of technical features to keep riders on their toes.

 

Open Men

With a 3-mile flat road section right off the start, stage 2 got off to a fast start with rider battling for the front before the singletrack started.

Up front it was Boulder Cyclesport rider Chris Baddick driving the pace early on. Baddick flatted on stage 1 and gave it everything he had to take back some spots he lost on the GC.

Baddick’s rapid pace quickly whittled the field down to a hand full of riders. Once again it was Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX), Geoff Kabush (Scott), Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit), and Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar).

“Baddick was really fast today,” Taylor Lideen shared after the finish. “Every climb he was out of the saddle sprinting. He made us work keeping up. I couldn’t even get a drink for the first hour.”

And he kept it going for most of the day.

The fast pace was taking a toll forcing the chasers to push their limits. Lindine went down briefly around the halfway point and Lideen caught a tree with his left hand, smashing his thumb and loosing contact with the lead group.

Lindine bridged back up to the lead group but Scott honcho, Geoff Kabush had no interest in letting it come down to a sprint finish again. On one of the longer climbing sections late in the race Kabush attack hard opening a gap that would continue to grow until the finish.

By the line he held a minute over runner-up Justin Lindine.

Ben Sonntag crossed the line in third followed by Chris Baddick and Taylor Lideen, who held on for fifth thanks to the large cushion he opened up early in the day.

For all his early effort Baddick did manage to pick up a spot in the GC jumping ahead of Rotem Ishay (Jamis) for fifth.

Kabush will be looking to protect his GC lead going into tomorrow’s final stage.

 

Open Women

 The leading women flew off the start of stage 2.  The first three miles of the course are a winding, rolling, dirt road and from the get go it was a sprint.

A sand trap right at the entrance to the first singletrack threw a few girls off and they were off their bikes running to get back in position.

Once on the singletrack, it’s a slick-rock climb and already the women were beginning to spread out with Jena Greaser leading the way.

In a strong position for the entire road, Jenny Smith (NoTubes) wrecked right at the start of the single track and lost position to Lea Davison (Clif Bar) and Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joes).

Maghalie Rochette (Clif Bar) rode strong and fast from the beginning maintaining her second place position for the entire day.

Today’s course was on Klondike Bluffs, a man-made trail system that includes a lot of punchy climbs, technical features and short descents.  It’s a great test of racers power, quick thinking and technical skills.

Greaser had all of those today as she led the women from the beginning, finishing a minute ahead of second place, Rochette.

Davison finished a minute behind her in third.   The overall GC changed today with Greaser moving into first, Rochelle in second and Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) in third.  Dixon struggled to match the speed and power of the top riders today with a lack of long climbs for her to get in a rhythm.

The third and final stage of Moab Rocks moves south to the Magnificent Seven trail area. The final day includes a nice mixed of both stages featuring some extended climbs, a healthy dose of slickrock, and technical descending.

Stage 3 will test riders with 3,600 feet of climbing over 30 miles.

Check back tomorrow for a full report and results from stage 3

Click Here for full results from all categories including GC after stage 2

 

 

Moab Rocks Stage 1 Photos

Photos from Day One of Moab Rocks 2017

Catharine Pendrel wins Stage 1 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Ksenia Lepikhina navigates the singletrack on UPS trail. Photo by: John Gibson

A line of riders negotiate the “Notch” on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

Spring conditions on Moab’s Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

A rider threads the needle on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

Geoff Kabush wins Stage 1 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Riders live on the edge racing on the Upper Porcupine Singletrack. Photo by: John Gibson

Classic Moab scenery on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Sparky Moir Sears drops in toward the finish line. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Porcupine Rim claims another victim. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Jeff Kerkove takes the high line to the finish. Photo by: Jean McAllister

A talented field was on hand to compete at this year’s Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson