The 2016 Intermountain Cup has officially returned to northern Utah with round 4 at Midway, Utah, Soldier Hollow Sports Park.
After hosting the first 3 races of this season in St. George, and Moab the I-Cup traveled north for Saturday’s event and it appeared northern Utah’s late winter wasn’t about to cooperate. Forecasts were gloomy at best and down right freezing depending where you looked right up to the start of this weekend’s race.
The bummer forecasts didn’t keep everyone at home as a few hundred motivated racers made their way to Soldier Hollow and were rewarded with dry trails and moderate temperatures throughout the event.
The 2016 Soldier Hollow course included a bit more singletrack per lap but maintained every bit of climbing the venue is known for. Riders climbed over 1,000 quad-burning feet per 6-mile lap. The elite men’s field raced 4 full laps as the women tackled 3 circuits.
Well over 20 riders took the start in the men’s elite race but Justin Lindine (Hyperthreads) quickly stamped out any notions that he would be challenged for the race win. Lindine has won two of the three I-Cup races this season and rode away with this one. His biggest challenge of the day would be staying motivated with such a big lead in hand.
He stayed clear of the field taking his I-Cup win total to three of four for 2016.
The race for runner up was much closer with Drew Free (Kuhl) and Anders Johnson (Whole Athlete) taking shots at each other all race long. After shedding other contenders in lap one Free and Johnson threw attacks at each other with neither getting an advantage until Johnson made a final attack less than a mile from the finish. The 18-year-old was able to put just enough space between himself and Free to take second with Free rolling in third.
Bryson Perry (Canyons) and Jeff Bender (Kuhl) rounded out the podium in 4th and 5th respectively.
The women’s race was a much closer affair as most of Utah’s fastest women toed the line. Any of the top-6 women had a legitimate chance to win at any I-Cup event. Included in that group were round #1 winner Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) and the winner of race #2 Erica Tingey (Jamis).
Off the start though a three-way race started to take shape between Sarah Kaufmann (NoTubes Elite), Nicole Tittensor (Scott), and Rachel Anders (Competitive Cyclist).
Kaufmann lead after lap one but crossed the start/finish just seconds in front of Tittensor and Anders.
Now it was Tittensor’s chance to take control of the race as she climbed clear of the lead group on lap two. her acceleration was enough to drop Kaufmann back but Anders never lost sight of the race leader and as the climbing began again on lap three 18-year-old Anders bridged the gap and jumped into the lead.
Once out front the youngster stayed focused as she drove to the finish line taking her first I-Cup win of this year.
Tittensor stayed close but couldn’t close the gap eventually rolling in second. Kaufmann kept a steady pace and held on to third place.
Hanks and Meghan Sheridan (Bingham’s Cyclery) finished off the podium.
Once everyone had finished and podium photos had been shot the skies finally opened up and fulfilled their ominous predictions by dumping sheets of freezing rain on Soldier Hollow.
Next up on the I-Cup schedule is the Stan Crane Memorial in Draper, Utah, May 30th. Check in with MTB Race News for full coverage from this and every Intermountain Cup race in 2016.