Written by: Shannon Boffeli
The second race of the inaugural Utah State Championship
Series (USCS) took place just outside Park City, Utah, in lovely Round Valley.
Heavy winter snowfall and early season rains have left Round
Valley lush, green, and blanketed with wildflowers.
While the temperatures remained in the 70s, the bright
sunshine made the racing feel hot as a very late spring/early summer have kept
most riders accustomed to colder temperatures.
The racing started with the pro men leading the way. All the
best riders were accounted for except Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness), who
recently fractured his scapula in a road bike crash.
Whole Athlete rider Keegan Swenson jumped off the front on
the short start loop and immediately gapped the field. Cannondale’s Alex Grant
was the only rider able to match the pace of the nation’s top junior rider.
"I knew we were going fast,” Grant commented after the race,
"I looked behind us and saw we had a huge gap. Then I thought, wow we really are
The duo were indeed "going fast” as they opened up a lead of
over a minute on the first of three laps and kept increasing that lead until
Early on it was Jason Sager (Jamis), Kevin Day (Kuhl), and
the Rooster’s duo of Nick Fisher and Brent Pontius doing the chasing. Sager was
the first to go initially yo-yoing in and out of the group.
Day quickly followed as the early pace took it’s toll. The
chasing was now left up to the Rooster’s duo of Fisher and Pontius and despite
some teamwork on the open doubletrack sections of the course they were no match
for the leaders.
Swenson and Grant continued to round the course locked
together, never more than a bike length apart. The two leaders, both excellent
climbers, attacked the grades so fast they appeared to be riding flat ground.
Throughout the third and final lap Grant was doing all he
could to drop the junior rider. Standing and powering every chance he had the
Cannondale rider was never able to shake his companion.
Behind the front of the race, Reed Wycoff (Contender) was
turning in a spectacular ride after being outside the top-10 on lap one he
started using his horsepower to reel in riders. On lap two Wycoff had moved
inside the top-10 and by the third lap he was threatening the to go inside the
As the leaders approached the finish, a long section section of doubletrack lay ahead. Alex Grant remained on the front
determined to ride Swenson off his wheel. As they rounded the final turn,
before the slightly downhill finish, Swenson finally made his move and jumped
Gassed from all his work on the front, Grant was no match
for the surging Swenson. Keegan Swenson charged across the finish line for the
win with Grant just 2 seconds behind.
Nick Fisher overpowered his teammate for third with Pontius
coming in fourth, an impressive finish for both riders.
Behind them Reed Wycoff polished off a great recovery
overtaking Jake Pantone (Rooster’s) for the fifth spot.
After an exciting men’s race the women put on just as good of a
show. With reigning National Ultra-Endurance champion Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt)
on hand to contest against the top Utah pros.
The women’s race was more evenly paced than the men’s with
the top-4 women staying in contact throughout the opening 9-mile lap. Carey
held the top spot but Erica Tingey sat right on her wheel. Kelsy Bingham
(Jamis) and KC Holley (Trek 29er) were just a handful of seconds behind the
The women were slated for a full 3 laps as well and on the
second Tingey made her move taking over the top spot.
"She dropped me on the second lap,” Carey shared after the
race. "Like really dropped me,
like I was out-of-sight dropped me.”
Tingey’s time out front was short-lived however as the
effort may have taken more than she had to give.
After the race, Tingey said, "I started cramping right after
passing Amanda. I was waiting for the cramps to work their way through but it
got really bad. She passed me back.”
And then it was Carey’s turn to get out of sight. Carey has
spent a lot of time leading races in the past 2 years and she knows how to stay
out front. While she never built an insurmountable lead it her gap was enough
to keep the contenders off her back.
With Carey out front, Tingey started to feel pressure coming
from the Jamis rider Bingham. Little by little Bingham was closing down the gap
and by the time they hit the final quarter mile before the finish just 10
seconds separated the two.
Determined to keep her second place, and the money that went
along with it, the White Pine Touring rider gave everything she had. The two
riders crossed the finish just 9 seconds apart with Tingey holding on to her second place.
Neither could catch Amanda Carey though as the Kenda/Felt
rider took the win by a minute.
KC Holley took fourth followed by Jenelle Kremer in fifth.
The next round of the Utah State Championship Series takes
place in July 9th with the PC 50. A 50-mile race starting at Park
City Mountain Resort and finishing at the Canyons resort just outside Park
For more information on the Utah State Championship series
or the PC 50 visit – raceuscs.com
Round Valley proved to be an exciting race course with a lot
of close battles. In the pro men’s race the four riders who finished 9ththrough 12th were separated by just 33 seconds.
USCS officials handed out over $2,500 in cash after the race
with the top pro male and female racers taking home $420 and $371 apiece.