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Results and Pics from Firecracker 50 - Marathon National Championships

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |July 4, 2010 4:17 PM
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Once again the USAC Marathon National Championships provided itís own fireworks on July 4th. There is no doubt the Firecracker 50 racecourse is what makes each Independence Day special for mountain bike racers across the country.

Starting on Main Street in Breckenridge, Colorado, racers cruise up the Fourth of July parade route, giving high-fives as they go. Then the riders are unleashed on 50 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing, a brutal task for any rider.

Last yearís winning duo Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Trek) and his teammate/wife rode away from the field to take back-to-back wins and the Marathon National Champion stars and stripes jersey.

The lead group wasted no time getting out front as the opening 6-mile road climb separated the top contenders quickly. The front group included big names like JHK, Sam Schultz (Subaru/Trek), MTB legend Dave Wiens (Topeak/Ergon), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), Peter Stetina, and Burke Swindlehurst (Team Give).

The leaders challenged each other but as the course topped out at well over 11,000 feet Horgan-Kobelski began to pull away. Even at such a high altitude the Subaru/Trek rider is able to push a relentless cross country pace. By feed zone two he already had a lead of minutes over the others.

Behind the lone leader his teammate Sam Schultz showed again why he is a rising star in U.S. mountain bike racing. Horgan-Kobelski flatted and Schultz took over the lead. 

Bishop ran into mechanical trouble early and fell off the pace before rallying late to chase down Swindlehurst on the interminably steep Little French Gulch climb.

The defending champion excelled on the road climb that started each lap and by the second feed zone of the last lap he once again held a commanding lead. 

Finally, Horgan-Kobelski crossed the line with a time of 3.35.59, slower than his time last year but more than enough to take his second consecutive Marathon National Championship. Schultz finished over 6 minutes later with another high-altitude specialist, Dave Wiens taking third.

Bishop held off accomplished road racer Swindlehurst taking 4th by less than one minute.

In the womenís event it was Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek) starting things off with a bang as she climbed the opening road with the best of the professional menís field. Pua Sawicki ( did her best to stay within striking distance.

She stayed close to the leader until the first long descent when a faulty brake hampered the endurance-racing star and by the second feed zone her race was already over.

Behind the leader it was youngster Amy Dombroski (Luna), former Firecracker champion Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joeís), and Tammy Jacques-Mayne (Honey Stinger) giving chase. Early on, the three teamed up to attacking the climbs.

Jacques-Mayne was the first to falter as todayís revelation; Krista Park (Cannondale/Incycle) surged through the pack winding it up after pacing herself on the start.

Park moved past Reeves and Dombroski taking over second place. Dombroski wasnít about to surrender. The petite Luna rider kept her quarry in site as the two engaged in an epic battle up the brutal Little French Gulch climb. Park pulled ahead as Dombroski was forced to dismount early.

Just as things seemed to be decided Dombroski refused to give up, regrouping and closing the gap to the Cannondale rider. This time it was Parkís turn to come off the bike. Twice hitting her feet on the final pitch. Dombroski cleaned this final section and moved back into second place.

Once ahead she kept the pace high descending confidently at high-speed opening the gap.

All the time Heather Irmiger stayed out front. She was simply untouchable in her title defense today. Her incredible pace and unmatched strength at high-altitudes let her stay well clear of the nearest challenger and posted an incredible time of 4.16.48, which would have placed her 21st in the pro menís field.

Dombroski powered her way home for second followed by a resplendent Krista Park.

Gretchen Reeves held on for 4th followed by fellow Colorado rider Kelly Boniface (Moots).

Race Notes: 

Giant rider Mitchell Peterson started the day having a good race before flatting on the first lap. Before the finish he would suffer 5 more punctures before demolishing his wheel by riding on the rim over the rockiest portions of the course.

Pro Women 

1, Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek) 4.16.48 
2, Amy Dombroski (Luna) 4.23.45 
3, Krista Park (Cannondale/Incycle) 4.24.36 
4, Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joes) 4.32.30 
5, Kelly Boniface (Moots) 4.34.38 
6, Rebecca Rusch (Specialized) 4.38.04 
7, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) 4.45.40 
8, Sonya Looney (Topeak/Ergon) 4.50.51 
9, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) 5.09.30   
10, Jen Hanks (Revolution/Peak Fasteners)
11, Carol Clemens (Gretna Bikes)
12, Jill Damman (Fitzgerald's)
Pro Men 

1, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Trek) 3.35.59
2, Sam Schultz (Subaru/Trek) 3.42.17 
3, Dave Wiens (Topeak/Ergon) 3.47.27 
4, Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) 3.50. 25 
5, Burke Swindlehurst (Team Give) 3.51.12 
6, Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) 3.52.14 
7, Mike McCalla (Scott/Magura) 3.52.28 
8, Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-Op) 3.58.08 
9, Travis Scheefer 3.58.11 
10, Tim Allen (Niner) 3.58.49 
11, Jake Wells (Mafia Racing) 3.58.49 
12, Matthew Beaton 
13, Barkley Robinson 
14, Nate Bird 
15, Colby Pearce 
16, John Curry 
17, Ryan Trebon 
18, Brandon Dwight 
19, Doug Johnson 
20, Alex Grant (Cannondale) 
21, Shawn Meredith 
22, Daniel Meredith 
23, Jeff Kerkove 
24, Bradford Sims 
25, Shannon Boffeli (iRide Adventures/ 
26, Nick Truitt 
27, Spencer Powlison 
28, Doug Andrews 
29, Kat Statman 
30, Robert Marion 
31, Jamie Morgan 
32, Matt Simmons 
33, Peter Ostroski 
34, Drew Edsall 
35, Ty Hansen 
36, Phillip Grove 
37, Cam Kirkpatrick 
38, Ernesto Marenchin 
39, Chris Peariso 
40, Macky Franklin 
41, Alan Adams 
42, Mitchell Peterson 
43, Evan Halladay 
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