The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team traveled to Moab, Utah to make their presence known out west at the three day stage race of Moab Rocks. This race is comprised of extremely rugged courses that tax both bike and rider. Cumulative results from 3 stages of racing are as follows:
Open/Pro men (43 participants)
Pascal Bonaventure, 40+ Men:
Stage 1: After a mellow start from Moab High School, all hell broke loose on the long climb to Porcupine. After the first steep pitch, the field was decimated. Dan and I lost contact with the top ten pro/open men on the second steep section but by then we had opened a decent gap on all our competitors. We rode together to the top at a high tempo and crested with a good margin on our competitors. From there on, Dan’s mission was to go downhill on Porcupine trail as fast as possible. My mission was to avoid any mechanical or crash. Dan easily won the stage, I got second place 2 min behind. Third place Dax Massey from Colorado, was only 27 sec behind and 4th place Cesar Mora missed the podium by only 20 sec.
Stage 2: The start was crazy fast. I was able to stay with the lead group all the way to the first single track. I quickly settled down in an interesting group composed of Dax Massey, Cesar Mora, a young rider racing open men and my young teammate Chuy also racing open men. Dan was ahead of us. The young rider did most of the work dictating a furious pace. He was riding very clean lines. Near the end, Cesar and Dax tried to shake up things a few times but we ended sprinting for 2nd place 30 sec behind Dan. Cesar got second and I got 3rd place but not losing any time on Dax (I even won a few seconds by gapping him in the sprint). This stage was demanding. My legs felt great but my lower back was hurting from all the shocks. Dan had a minor crash and injured his shoulder but icing and ibuprofen did some magic.
Stage 3: Here is the drama for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. Dan, Chuy, Cesar and I had planned to drill the first climb to drop Dax. That was a nice strategy but Dax had some good climbing legs on the third day. The climb was brutal with many accelerations. After 15 min of race I was in a group composed of Dax, Chuy, Cesar and Dan behind the top pros. Dax kept accelerating. Dan went to the front in the first single track to control the pace but Dax decided to pass Dan and upped the pace. I felt good but I was concerned about the technical descent following the climb. I made a conscious decision to play it safe and not take any risk. As expected, Dax started the descent at a crazy pace. Cesar was on his wheel. They dropped us. I was unable to keep up with Dan and I settled down at my own pace. Chuy caught me and rode with me for a while. At that point I was just trying to keep up a good pace but I was convinced that I had lost my podium spot. I crossed the finish line and I immediately saw Dan who told me that Dax and Cesar had made a wrong turn and were behind me. Cesar was really riding strong and without the wrong turn the final GC might have been different.
Paul and Mike rode really well finishing 9th and 11th respectively. Without 4 flats in the first stage Paul would have been close to the top 5.
The best part of the weekend was to stay with my teammates and friends in this great place. Thanks to Ken for arranging the logistics, to Dan for driving us from the airport, and Chuy for being an incredible teammate during the race.
Guy Sutton, 50+ Men
Stage 1 - Porcupine Rim Trail:
Gradual fire road climb to loosen up the legs then an epic descent along one of the most famous trails in North America. What's not to like? Race pace changes everything. I think everyone suffered on the climb and felt every bump on the DH. Bikes would break down (Paul Todd quadflats) and the terrain would take its toll on those unlucky enough to hit the rocks (my knee). For 50+ group it was very tight up the climb. What seemed to separate myself, Ken and Greg was familiarity of the route and bike set-up for the DH. How you all got it done with 100mm bikes is beyond my meager ability.
Stage 2 - Klondike Bluffs:
Redline from the gun and never let up until legs or bike give out. Once again the 50+ contenders took off close together but strung out over the course. The singletrack was fun and challenging. Fellow rider’s skill and stamina seemed to have a significant impact on your pace. The singletrack was tight and it was harder to pass. My knee looked (and felt) like it belonged to a 70 year old with heart failure. I think we all started to accumulate wear and tear by this point. As you know, Ken broke his fancy Roval Carbon rim this stage and managed to get things operational to finish not too far back. Greg was once again right there.
Stage 3 - Mag 7:
I rode the Mag 7 trails about 5 years ago with friends. I remember a steady singletrack climb, then an awesome technical rolling descent. Funny how things change with two tough days on an under-prepared cardiovascular system. I tried to keep with a large group on the first headwind climb but was redlined and had to shut it down. The singletrack climb was at my threshold and I paid for it on the "downhill". The downhill was so rough and rolling that it felt as hard as the climbs in my opinion. I had added 20psi to my rear shock and extra tire pressure to ward off potential bike breakage, but it made for a very rough ride. I would like to do this again with proper set-up. My rear derailleur decided to stop working and wouldn't stay in gear. I made some blind barrel adjustments and limped in. Thank-you for the 20mph tailwind, I needed it. Greg once again was not too far off, and Paul had another strong day as did our rival from Switzerland who took second on this stage. The real drama occurred in the super fast 40+ men, but I will leave that tale for Dan, Pascal, Jesus and Cesar.
My favorite part of the weekend was having such a great place to stay among my new teammates and friends. We all suffered and had our ups and downs. A big thanks to Ken and Cesar's wives for putting up with all us crusty mountain bikers. I hope you had fun seeing Moab. Ken, thanks for once again taking on an enormous organizational effort and putting this together, not to mention transporting our bikes and gear. Dan, thanks for all the shuttling. If Justin ever gets some more race intensity time on the bike, we are all in trouble.
Moab Rocks was really hard on the bike and body. I don't quite remember feeling like this at BCBR.