Endurance hero Kelly Magelky dethrones Travis Brown at the Gunnison Growler and Melissa Thomas hands it to the competition in the sage
Tough is the one word needed to describe the Gunnison Growler. Located in the high desert of Gunnison, Colorado, the Growler is a brutal mix of short steep climbs, insanely fun swooping singletrack, and lots of rocks.
Hosted by Dave Wiens the Growler has quickly become a Colorado endurance racing classic. The Growler starts on Main Street in Gunnison, which is located at 7,700 feet above sea-level and riders climb to a high-point of around 8,400 feet, then they descend back down then up again and down again and - you understand where this is going.
Riders completing the full Growler complete two 32-mile laps before finishing.
Just like last year a Trek rider would be crossing the line in first place. This year however it was Kelly Magelky not Travis Brown taking the win.
Magelky got off the front early taking Brown and Jake Wells (Mafia Racing) with him. The lead group powered through the first lap opening up large gaps on the remaining field.
Behind, the riders were left to do battle with a racecourse that demanded every bit of skill and fitness in their bodies.
After the first lap Magelky climbed out of the finish area with Brown and Wells still latched on. Brown suffered a mechanical on the climb that forced him off the bike and as the lead duo carried on the remaining Trek rider began to see a gap form.
"I knew I needed to get a gap because Travis is just so fast and I seemed to be climbing away from Jake." Magelky said after the race.
As the lap wore on Magelky kept pushing the pace expecting Brown would catch up at any moment. Little did he know his gap was steadily building and as he descended to the finish he had a solid lead of over 3 minutes.
The race winner credited his victory to finally getting his nutrition right and staying strong throughout the entire race. His finishing time was an incredible 5 hours and 32 minutes.
Brown ultimately overtook Jake Wells to finish second. Wells took third followed by Peter Webber and Joseph Saperstein.
The women's race was equally exciting with a number of Colorado's finest endurance women taking the start. After a frigid start in 34 degree weather things quickly heated up on course.
Tokyo Joe's rider Melissa Thomas had come to win and she moved off the front building a healthy lead. 24 Hour National Champion Eszter Horanyi was noticeable absent on the start line but even she would have had a hard time containing Thomas.
She built a commanding lead and never looked back. Behind the leader it was a close battle for second with former 24 Hour champion Jari Kirkland (Alpine Orthopaedics) just behind Topeak/Ergon rider Sonya Looney.
The two rode most of the 64-miles within just minutes of each other but Looney never relinquished any time to her rival finally finishing just 6 minutes in front of Kirkland.
No one was a match for Thomas today though as she took the women's win with a dominating performance and crushing time of 6.36.09
Although the Growler is tough, not a single rider was unhappy with today's race. The never-ending singletrack and challenging descents challenged and entertained the 340 rider field.
1, Kelly Magelky (Trek) 5.32.26
2, Travis Brown (Trek) 5.36.49
3, Jake Wells (Mafia Racing) 5.38.36
4, Peter Webber
5, Joseph Saperstein
6, Yuki Saito (Topeak/Ergon)
7, Scott McCalmon
8, Ben Preston
9, Nick Truitt
10, Thomas Githens
11, Miles Venzara
12, Doug Johnson
13, Greg Lewis
14, Ward Baker
15, Daniel Matheny
16, Nick Gould
17, Michael Mathers
18, Nate Bird
19, Matthew Perry
20, Shannon Boffeli (iRide Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com)
21, David Ochs
22, Andrew Feeney
23, Derrick Henderson
24, Dax Massey
25, Mark Thompson
26, Dodson Harper
27, Rob Sousa
28, Jason Stubbe
29, Brandon Dwight
30, Jamie Morgan
1, Melissa Thomas (Tokyo Joe’s) 6.36.09
2, Sonya Looney (Topeak/Ergon) 6.54.05
3, Jari Kirkland (Alpine Orthopaedics) 7.00.12
4, Jennifer Tilley 7.24.17
5, Melissa Trainer 7.36.58
6, Becky Sears
7, Jamie Buch
8, Carrie Weinberg
9, Elizabeth Winfield
10, Kara Durland
11, Starr Jamison
12, Krista Powers
13, Amy Thomas (Yeti Beti)
14, Amy Owens
15, Chelsea McGowan
16, Melody Serra
Click Here for full results with all categories