Sarah Tescher is taking her free entry fee and heading to New Zealand.
Tescher, who admittedly planned to attend the event anyway, won the womens Singlespeed A race at the Hermosa Off-Road Classic, and with it, the $115 entry fee to the Singlespeed World Championships, held this year in October in Rotoura, New Zealand.
The plan was to pack up her 7-year-old son, Jack, and make a vacation out of it. That vacation just got incrementally cheaper and somewhat more satisfying.
I was planning on signing up before I went, Tescher said. Now I feel like Ive earned it a little bit more.
The Durango DEVO director worked her strategy to a T on Saturday, pulling ahead early in the popular local mountain bike race and leading comfortably throughout the 38-mile course, her trademark skirt flapping in the wind.
Tescher enjoyed the laid-back nature the Classic is known for, especially in contrast to the U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships, where she also claimed the singlespeed title.
I was carrying on a conversation up on the Colorado Trail for like 45 minutes with a friend, and we were talking about all kinds of things, she said. Its just long ... you have to have a good time and be social. Its hard to suffer that long.
Her male counterpart, Nick Gould, won the mens singlespeed race by roughly three minutes over Greg Lewis, earning the same entry-fee prize as Tescher. However, the cost of getting himself and his bike halfway across the globe proved a bit too prohibitive.
I think its like three grand to fly to New Zealand, he said.
Goulds race contained a bit more drama than Teschers. Lewis was neck-and-neck with the eventual champion before the final 18-mile loop of the course. Gould put space between himself and his closest competitor at Hotel Draw, and he grew the slight gap through the finish.
He was pretty much like 10 seconds back for most of the climb, then I gapped him out a little bit more at the top, I think, going into the singletrack. Gould said.
As far as geared bikes were concerned, Matt Shriver again was the dominant force in the pro mens race, finishing in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 43 seconds to defend his title. The stickier conditions, brought about by Fridays rain, knocked the Fort Lewis College cycling coach off his record pace of 2:52:53 from his 2009 victory.
As coaches often are wont to do, Shriver attributed a majority of his second consecutive Classic victory to his mental approach.
You had to focus a lot (Saturday), he said. You didnt want to drift off because it was slippery. Slower the mud kind of saps your energy out there.
Shrivers victory again was punctuated by the gap between him and the second-place finisher. Troy Wells took runner-up honors this time around, finishing nearly eight minutes off the pace. The race likely would have been closer, but Wells ran into some mechanical troubles in the first half of the race. He blew out both tires, then was unable to catch Shriver after taking the time to change them.
I could see Troy was going to be riding fast on the downhills, but at the same time, I knew he was riding a little heavy, Shriver said. It didnt surprise me that he flatted. And when I say heavy, I mean he was blazing over stuff hard.
Tires were no problem for pro womens winner Teal Stetson-Lee. Riding on a brand new pair of Specialized S-Works tires, the former national champion at FLC rode to the title.
Theyre definitely lighter than my last wheels, and I could definitely feel that climbing, she said.
While she said the tires gripped the tacky course well, her philosophy remains that it still takes a good rider to get the most out of even the strongest equipment.
I always say, its not the equipment that makes the rider fast, its the rider that makes the equipment fast, Stetson-Lee said.
And, as usual, no matter the winners, riders were looking forward to the after-party.
Definitely going to stick around and have some beers, food, Gould said, smiling. Definitely drink some beers.