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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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 

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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

Moab Rocks: Stage 1

Canadians Geoff Kabush and Catherine Pendrel Take Stage 1 at Moab Rocks

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

After a year hiatus, the Moab Rocks stage race made a triumphant return to the race schedule. Organizers made the switch from the usual October date to March with great success. This year the fields ballooned from just 70 to 80 riders to a fully sold-out 150 riders.

The full field was a buzz on the start line rolling out from downtown Moab and heading out Sand Flats road past the famed Slickrock trail before cresting the climb up to the Upper Porcupine Singletrack and descending the way back down to the finish. Riders were challenged by about 4,200 feet of climbing, almost all of which was in the first hour-long climb, and 27 miles of riding on one of the most iconic trails in all of Moab.

Taylor Lideen descending Porcupine Rim.

Open Men

Racers started at 8:30am with a mass start rolling through town and out Sand Flats road. The first selection started early with about 30 riders staying together past Slickrock trail. Slowly the pack thinned as they passed Lower Porcupine hitting the steepest slopes just after. Nick Gould (Ska Brewing/Zia Tacoria) and Payson McElveen (RideBiker) started to dial it up, pulling Geoff Kabush (Scott), Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit), Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX),  Chris Baddick (Boulder Cyclesport), and Ben Sonntag (Team Clif Bar).

This group of four took control of things up front with Kabush eventually putting some sunlight between himself and the three chasers just before the singletrack started.

Now on the Upper Porcupine descent Lideen took up lead chasing duties finally bridging the gap to Kabush who had to stop for a dropped chain. Shortly after, Chris Baddick flatted, ending his shot at a race win.

Once again the group of four descended the hard-pounding drops of Lower Porcupine. Almost in sight of the finish it was Lideen’s chance to drop his chain producing the final selection of the day as the three leaders stayed wheel-to-wheel until the finish line.

In the end Kabush crossed first followed by Sonntag and Lindine. Lideen regrouped to finish fourth.

Almost without exception all riders enjoyed the day riding classic Moab trails. As usual Porcupine Rim produced enough carnage to end some rider’s day and pushing everyone to their limit.

Stage 1 winner Geoff Kabush

Open Women

There was a fast group of female racers at the start line for Moab Rocks this year including Canadian and American Olympians Catherine Pendrel (Luna) and Lea Davison (Luna).

Once past the neutral roll out the women started to spread out with Pendrel, and Jena Greaser taking the lead.

Not far behind were a handful of strong women all racing close to each other pushing hard up the 15-mile climb.

The road includes some rolling sections at the beginning and not too far into it Marlee Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) caught Pendrel and Greaser.

The three of them climbed together for most of the road with Dixon making a move to the front in the second half.  Pendrel caught up and rode with her and Jena right behind.

Once off the main road climb, Dixon tried to widen her gap on the singletrack, losing her chain twice, she was caught by Jena Greaser.

However, being unfamiliar with the course, Jena was off her bike and Dixon again moved into the lead.

Porcupine Rim is a technical, pedally descent going from smooth dirt to sand to gnarly rocks to drops.

Pendrel passed Jenna not too far into the descent and then five miles from the finish caught and passed Dixon as Dixon endo’ed over her bike.

Pendrel took the win; showing her strong technical skills and speed on the most technical stage of the race.

Stage 1 starts with a long road climb testing racers fitness then moves into a rocky, chundry descent where anything can happen.  For racers this is probably one of the most technical trails to race on.

For stage 1, Pendrel took the win, followed by Dixon and then Greaser.  For the 3 day overall, Pendrel is only racing one day so Dixon takes the overall followed by Jena Greaser and Maghalie Rochette (Luna) in 3rd.

Sparky Moir Sears (Pivot) finished fourth followed by Jenny Smith (Kenda/NoTubes) in fifth.

Tomorrow’s stage changes things up with more trail and a hefty dose of slickrock as riders tackle the Klondike Bluffs trail area with another 27 miles and just 2,800 feet of climbing.

Check in tomorrow for full coverage on MTB Race News.

Click Here for full results from all categories

Moab Rocks – Stage 3

Pepper Harlton Makes it Two in a Row While Brent Pontius Takes His First Stage Win; Chris and KC Holley Crowned Moab Rocks Champions

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

 

The final stage of the Moab Rocks mountain bike stage race is usually the favorite for most of the racers. Not just because it’s the last stage of a grueling three days of riding but it also features some of the best riding Moab has to offer.

Located in the Magnificent 7 trail area, stage 3 features an abundance of singletrack – including the only long stretches of buffed-out dirt trail in Moab sprinkled throughout techy slickrock and long, high-speed descents.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

But before the fun starts, riders have to conquer a 5-mile section of road that features the two toughest climbs of the day.

With that in mind the racers got off to a mellow start slowly ramping up the pace before the first of two road climbs.

Overall race leader Chris Holley (Kuhl) settled into the lead group, seeming content to follow some wheels and be ready if he needed to defend against attacks.

His closest competitors, Brent Pontius (Rooster’s/Bikers Edge), Jason Sager (Competitive Cyclist), and Jeff Kerkove (Topeak/Ergon), also occupied the lead group but no one felt the urge to take an early flyer and attempt to unseat Holley from the top spot.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Sager, who was riding a long-travel bike for the first time looked as though he might give Holley a run later in the stage when the descending started but his plans were foiled early on when mechanical troubles prevented him from finishing the stage.

This left Pontius and Holley alone for much of the race with each rider feeling the effects of three days in the saddle and not pushing the pace too hard.

When the descending finally started, the leaders settled into a reasonable pace on the 9-mile descent back to Gemini Bridges road. On the descent Jeff Kerkove and Alaskan Jeff Ellis regained contact with the lead group.

Ellis, who finished 6th in stages 1 and 2, was in the midst of making a move on Bobby Brown (Bicycle Outfitters) and it was paying off as he stayed with the leaders until the final climb to the finish where Brent Pontius started driving the pace at the front.

Pontius moved clear of the group but Holley kept the Rooster’s/Biker’s Edge rider close as they crested the final climb, and Holley regained his wheel as they descended to the finish.

Pontius would ultimately take the stage win but Holley claimed the title of 2015 Moab Rocks champion.

Jeff Ellis finished off his impressive ride in 3rd place with enough time in hand to leapfrog Bobby Brown in the GC and claim 4th.

Yesterday’s stage winner, Jeff Kerkove rolled in 4th on the day and moved into 3rd overall claiming what was previously Jason Sager’s spot.

Bobby Brown finished 5th on the day and would occupy the same spot in the GC.

The women’s race started off with even more excitement as stage 1 winner Karen Jarchow, who crashed in stage 2, was unable to start the final day of the race.

Originally Jarchow thought her crash the previous day left her with nothing more than bruising and some road rash but a dented helmet and some lingering dizziness made her concerned about a more serious concussion. With that in mind she decided to not take the start.

That meant overnight race leader KC Holley (Kuhl) would have to keep Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TVBRace) and stage 2 winner Pepper Harlton (Devon Bicycle Association) close enough to hold onto her GC lead.

At the start of the day Holley had roughly 10 minutes on Harlton who sat in second overall.

Holley was nervous at the start, worried about the upcoming 5 miles of road that separated her from the singletrack.

As the race got rolling her fears appeared sadly justified as she faded back into 4th losing sight of Armstrong and Harlton.

Finally on trail, Holley started picking off riders beginning with Kata Skaggs (Adventure Bicycle Association), then Armstrong toward the end of the lap.

“I was pretty worried because we were back on the road [just 4 miles from the finish] and I hadn’t caught Pepper and had no idea how far ahead she was,” Holley said after the race.

Concerned that she might have given up too much time the race leader was happily surprised to be told on the final climb that Harlton was just a minute or two in front of her.

Pepper Harlton had given her all trying to claw back the time she lost on stage 1 ultimately coming up just short.

Pepper Harlton descends toward another stage win. Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Pepper Harlton descends toward another stage win. Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Harlton crossed the line for her second stage win in as many days but only getting back 2 of the 10 minutes she needed to unseat Holley from the race lead.

A relieved KC Holley crossed the line for second on the day but fastest combined time after 3 days of racing. She would join her husband Chris as 2015 Moab Rocks champion.

Kaysee Armstrong rolled in third on the stage followed by Kata Skaggs and Sandra Hardy.

At the finish riders congregated sharing their stories of the past three days of racing and enjoying the camaraderie that seems to make all mountain bike racers immediate friends.

All riders on hand would agree that after three days of magnificent weather, outstanding trail riding, friendly and helpful event staff, and plenty of free beer the 2015 Moab Rocks will forever be a highlight of their racing careers.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Click Here for full results from stage 3

Click Here for full GC results from Moab Rocks

Click Here for full timed descent results from stage 3

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