Jamey Driscoll and Nicole Tittensor Conquer Deer Valley
Written by: Shannon Boffeli
For the second race in a row on the Intermountain Cup (I-Cup) schedule the threat of rain and cold temperatures gave way to dry conditions and perfect racing temps.
This time racers were taking on the classic singeltrack circuits of long-time NORBA nationals hotspot Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. An extremely fast racecourse with ripping-fast descents and endless blind corners challenged riders of all levels.
The appearance of national cyclocross superstar Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh/Clement) had the pro men’s field buzzing before the start.
Driscoll’s presence was obvious right from the start as the field sprinted up the interminably steep Little Stick climb like it was flat ground.
To everyone’s surprise it was Mike Sampson (Summit Bike Club) taking the early lead in the first half of lap one. If Driscoll was surprised he certainly didn’t get nervous in the second spot, bidding his time and taking the lead by the end of the first of four laps.
Sampson and Driscoll battled at the front opening a large gap as Mitchell Peterson (Canyon Bicycles) winner of the last I-Cup race struggled to recover from a slow start. Peterson had a legitimate excuse for starting slow as the Canyon rider had finished his winning run in the Big Cottonwood Hill Climb mere hours before taking the start in Deer Valley. Peterson didn’t even have time to take the number plate off his back before starting on the dirt.
Jamey Driscoll didn’t have tired legs though as he powered through the course. Sampson wasn’t about to give up even against a big-name talent like Driscoll.
“On the last lap I couldn’t feel like legs cramping yet,” Sampson said after the race. “I like to push myself until I cramp so I knew I had to go harder.”
Sampson stayed on the gas and brought himself within seconds of the Raleigh/Clement leader but Driscoll is a seasoned pro and will let riders get close having faith that his superior fitness will see him across the line and once again, it did.
Jamey Driscoll took the win just 14 seconds in front of the surprising Mike Sampson.
Mitchell Peterson showed his amazing fitness working his way up to third at the fnish just in front of Chris Holley (Kuhl) who outsprinted Jeff Bender (Bender Brothers Racing) for fourth while Bender took fifth.
The women’s race featured a huge prerace favorite as well in the form of Joey Lythgoe (Kuhl). Lythgoe has dominated the series this season winning all but one race on the I-Cup schedule.
Lythgoe started off strong, surging to the lead using her elite climbing style. She quickly established herself in a familiar position; off the front.
Nicole Tittensor (Revolution/Peak Fasteners) dug deep to stay close to the lone leader keeping her in sight for most of the first lap at which point her persistence paid off as Lythgoe flatted on the first long descent of lap two.
Tittensor was close enough to take advantage of the leader’s misfortune and moved herself into the lead position. Now in front, Tittensor took full advantage of her position and showed everyone else that her form is rapidly improving.
Tittensor climbed her way farther and farther out front finally finishing with an advantage of over 3 minutes on second-placed Meghan Sheridan (UtahMountainBiking.com).
KC Holley (Kuhl) turned in one of her best performances of the year taking third over Erica Powers (Revolution/Peak Fasteners) in fourth and Jen Hanks (Pivot/Epic Brewing) in fifth.
Joey Lythgoe was unable to recover from her flat tire and withdrew from the race.