Race Bikes For The Life Time Grand Prix

Riders are lining up in Monterey, California, for the Sea Otter Classic and round 1 of the Life Time Grand Prix.

Saturday’s Sea Otter course features two 40-kilometer laps on the super-fast, hard pack at the edges of Laguna Seca Raceway. Riders have chosen a wide variety of race set ups to get the most from their bikes in Saturday’s marathon event.

We got a sneak peak at some of the fastest rides that will be on course this weekend including top riders like: Rose Grant, Geoff Kabush, Melisa Rollins, Dylan Johnson, and many more.

Rose Grant: Juliana Wilder

Rose Grant’s Juliana Wilder

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Rockshox SID 100mm
  • Shock: Rockshox SID Luxe 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM AXS dropper
  • Wheels: Reserve 28 carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4 with Orange Seal sealant
  • Grips: Chunky ESI
  • Computer: Hammerhead

Melisa Rollins: Trek Supercaliber (Melisa is sponsored by Felt who do not currently produce a mountain bike)

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Shock: Fox/Trek ISO strut 65mm
  • Seat Post: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon fixed
  • Wheels: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4

Hannah Otto: Pivot Les SL

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with Stages Double Side Power Meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Step Cast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 carbon
  • Tires: Kenda Rush 2.2
  • Cockpit: Race Face Next SL
  • Grips: ESI Fit CR

Evelyn Dong: Custom Juliana SC Highball

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Rockshox SID ultimate 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM Explr AXS dropper 75mm
  • Wheels: Reserve carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado

Taylor Lideen: Pivot Les SL

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with 4iiii power meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Wheels: Boyd Trail Blazer
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4
  • Computer: Wahoo ELEMENT Bolt GPS

Dylan Johnson: Factor Lando

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast 120mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Black Inc Twenty Seven
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Cockpit: Black Inc bar/stem combo
  • Tires Inserts: Tubolight EVO SL

Stephan Davoust: Giant Anthem Advanced Pro

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast Live Valve 110mm
  • Shock: Fox Live Valve 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Wheels: Giant XCRO carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear

Geoff Kabush: Yeti SB115

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
  • Fork: Fox 34 Fit4 Step Cast
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Stan’s No Tubes Podium SRD
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25 EXO 120tpi
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Grips: Lizard Skins 32.2 DSP

You can follow Shannon Boffeli on Instagram @shan__solo

True Grit Epic 2022

Melisa Rollins & Danny Van Wagoner Open Endurance Season with Big Wins at True Grit Epic 50-Miler

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

After two years of snow storms and mud, True Grit race director Cimarron Chacon was more than pleased to see clear skies and warm temperatures as racers approached the start next to the red rock walls of the historic Santa Clara courthouse for the 8 AM start.

Melisa Rollins powered her way to a win in the True Grit 50. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

With more than 850 starters, True Grit represents the first leg of the National Ultra Endurance series and the first mass-start mountain bike event of the season. For more than a decade True Grit has challenged riders with technical desert singletrack riding that will both punish and delight.

Offering distances from 15 to 100 miles, in the warm desert of southern Utah, True Grit is the first opportunity for riders from across the country to stretch their legs and test their abilities on the dirt.

With most riders electing for the 50-mile distance, a tough battle was on hand as idyllic conditions promised lightning fast finishing times.

Riders weave their way through the rocks at True Grit Epic. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Women’s 50-Mile

The women’s event promised tough racing with a host of elite athletes returning to battle in this early-season test.

Melisa Rollins (Virginia’s Blue Ridge/Twenty24) took the early lead out through Cove Wash and the undulating climbs of Green Valley. The duo of Liza Hartlaub and Mya Graham (Waite Endurance) chased close behind followed by Sparky Moir (Fezzari/MRP/Ergon), Nicole Tittensor (Jans/Scott), Lauren Zimmer (Bingham Cyclery/Peak Fasteners), and Jen Hanks (Pearl Izumi).

Jen Hanks flows through the rocks on Zen trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Despite previous crashes at True Grit Melisa Rollins rode without fear through the daunting Barrel and Zen trails never relinquishing her lead.

After exiting Zen, Rollins held just over a minute lead on Hartlaub who had opened a gap to Graham.

Now at the halfway mark, Melisa Rollins upped her pace, hammering out some hard miles through the long Stucki Springs climb and onto the final Barrel Roll trail system.

By the finish she had doubled her advantage on second-placed Liza Hartlaub, and crossed the line in a blistering 3:55:50.

Hartlaub came home just 3 minutes back with an equally impressive time of under 4 hours.

Mya Graham takes on Zen trail on her way to third place for the day. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Mya Graham crossed the line with a well-deserved third place.

Sparky Moir rode strong in fourth throughout the day. Moir showcased her desert riding skill holding off Jen Hanks, while both shed Tittensor and Zimmer through the treacherous Zen trail before settling in with a steady pace to the finish.

The final podium spot was decided in the finishing miles after Hanks flatted on the last descent of the day allowing KC Holley (Kuhl) to sprint past less than a mile from the finish line.

Men’s 50-Mile

Things heated up fast for the men as an elite group powered at the front from the very start. After a rapid opening climb and a safe pass through Cove Wash, Danny Van Wagoner (Johnson Elite Orthodontics) moved to the front as the singletrack started in Keyhole wash, a deep ravine where riders are forced to ride single file.

Chris Holley leads the chase group on Zen trail. Zach Calton crests the slickrock. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Feeling confident, Van Wagoner opened a gap and kept the pressure on throughout the opening miles. “While it felt early to roll solo,” Van Wagoner said, “I looked at my numbers and felit I was riding sustainably. I was hoping the hard pace would allow some margin for error through the technical sections of the Waterfall, Barrel, and Zen trails.”

Van Wagoner’s early pace paid off as Zach Calton (Calton Coaching) suffered a flat while trying to keep his gap to the leader at a minimum on the Barrel trail. This left Cameron Larson (Summit Bike Club) second on course dangling between 1-2 minutes from the leader.

With his flat repaired, Calton started moving his way back toward the front eventually picking up Chad Berentsen (No Ride Around). The duo focused their effort on bringing back Van Wagoner who had pulled away from Cameron Larson on the false flats of Stucki Springs.

MTB legend Dave Wiens challenged himself with the 3-day stage race in Santa Clara, Utah. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Eventually the chasers caught and passed a fading Larson with only Van Wagoner left out front.

The solo leader had gauged his efforts well and showed no signs of slowing on the final lap around the Barrel Roll trail. Attacking the final climbs and slicing his line through the technical rock features Danny Van Wagoner finished off an impressive day taking a solo win in Santa Clara.

Zach Calton and Berentsen kept it close in the final miles of the race with Calton opening the smallest of gaps to take the runner-up spot just 23 seconds in front of Berentsen.

Nick Gould attacks the rocks. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Fourth went to Colorado ultra-endurance strongman Nick Gould (Mazda Lauf Factory Gravel) who was battling in a 3-man group for the podium. After Chris Holley (Kuhl) missed a final turn to the finish Gould and Blair Perkes (Kuhl) snuck through with all three finishing within seconds of each other.  

Gwendolyn Sepp and Nick Bragg Win the 100-Mile

The 100-mile race in Santa Clara saw smaller than normal numbers as most of the 865 racers opted to compete in the 50-mile distance or the stage race that included a gravel race on Sunday.

The women’s 100-miler saw mother/daughter duo to Allyson and Gwendolyn Sepp both take on the challenge of 100-miles on their home trails in southern Utah. Gwendolyn, a college athlete for Utah State University, took the win over her mom with a time of 8:54:30.

Allyson (Red Rock Bicycle) came home at 9:26:17.

Roger Arnell takes on the 100-mile True Grit Epic. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

Nick Bragg (Sycamore Cycles Collection) took the men’s title in a nail-biter over Utahn Roger Arnell (Johnson Elite Orthodontics).

Bragg’s winning time of 7:05:17 was just 2 minutes faster than Arnell, an impressively close race after 100 miles.

Brian Elander (No Ride Around)  finished third ahead of Jonas Woodruff (Next Wave Development). Joshua Tootell took the final podium spot in fifth.

Tony Rago hits the tuck position on Zen trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

The masters 50+ group went to local speedster Jonathan Davis (Elevated Legs) with a finishing time just under 8 hours.

Second went to NUE veteran Greg Golet (Team Chico/Carborocket). Golet finished with just over a minute in hand from Amir Mattiyahu (Trail Head Racing) who took third.

Race Notes

Massive junior numbers were on hand for the 2022 True Grit Epic with hundreds of kids under-18 taking part in junior men’s and women’s categories as well as the open.

Large junior fields were on hand for the 2022 True Grit Epic. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

True Grit Epic offers a 3-day stage race which includes a 90-mile gravel race on Sunday. Melisa Rollins and Zach Calton took wins in the 3-day event.

MTB legend Dave Wiens challenged himself with the 3-day stage race in Santa Clara, Utah. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Justin Holle doing damage to his competitors in singlespeed. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Liza Hartlaub navigates Zen trail at the 2022 True Grit. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Bob Saffell takes on the 100-mile. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Jeff Kerkove enjoyed his time in the saddle in Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Jen Hanks flows through the rocks on Zen trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Brad Keyes braved a day on the singlespeed. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Holly Haguewood puts her local knowledge to the test in Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Riders charge through the desert with Santa Clara in the background. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Riders navigate rocks above and below on the Zen trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Large junior fields were on hand for the 2022 True Grit Epic. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Shannon Boffeli grunts his way to second place in the SS race. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Tony Rago hits the tuck position on Zen trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Halle Britton on her way to second place in the junior women’s 50 miler. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Riders had fun while challenging themselves in the southern Utah desert. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
Bri Hoopes shows the way through Zen Trail. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic
A feeling shared by most riders at the 2022 True Grit Epic. Photo courtesy of True Grit Epic

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You can follow Shannon on Instagram @ Shan__Solo