The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team participated in a resurrected old classic mountain bike race called the Sagebrush Safari. The course starts out with a 6.5 mile climb up Morena Stokes Valley Rd to 4 Corners, then up Los Pinos Rd, just near the top of Los Pinos Mountain (elevation 4600ft). No time to catch your breath before heading into the Spur Meadows downhill. This trail contained a high speed descent and was littered with sharp rocks that claimed many a mountain bike tire (the trail became littered with racers repairing flat tires) After roughly 4 miles of descending the course intersects Morena Stokes Valley Rd to climb back again to 4 Corners. From there racers jump onto Wrangler Trail. This is the trail that makes the Sagebrush Safari as epic as it is. It contains many types of terrain including loose dirt, hard pack, massive rock slabs, rock gardens, punchy climbs, and flowy descents. After about 4 miles the Wrangler Trail dumps onto Skye Valley Rd for a brief screamingly fast descent to Bronco Flats Trail and then to a new section called Ranger Trail. Ranger is a technical, yet rideable climb, up to the next section. The next section is one of the most fun fire-roads you’ll experience, Gunslinger Trail. After which you reach Morena Stokes Valley Rd and for the final time make your way back up to 4 corners. Once you reach 4 corners the course leads to Kernan Cycle trail. Kernan is the final (fast, “whoopy”, and at times technical) descent back down to the paved road. Once on the paved road the final 2 are flat and fast to the finish line.
Team results summary is as follows:
40+ Expert men – 3rd place Jeff Jacobson, 5th place Pascal Bonaventure, 9th place Larry Tanzo, 10th place Steve Boyd, 12th place Greg Twitty, and 13th place Bryan Taylor out of 19 participants
55+ Open – 1st place Randy Liechty, 3rd place Jack Kairy, 4th place Ken Winston, 9th place Dennis Mudd out of 19 participants
Race report Sagebrush Safari Category 55+ by Randy Liechty:
I was excited about this race as Sagebrush was my first bicycle race 25 years ago! I started that race in the beginner class age 35-44. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. During the race I thought to myself, this is really hard so I stopped and asked the race marshal if I was going the right direction (some things never change) and confessed that I was a beginner! He laughed at me and said "just keep going". I did finish, and placed 35th out of 66 in my class! That day I realized that Sagebrush is a real mountain bike race! The modern version is 27 miles long with 3600 feet of climbing.
When I arrived at the race on Saturday it was awesome to warm up with all my great teammates. This is a great group who ride and train together on the Wednesday night ride. We are fortunate to have amazing support from UC Cyclery and all of our sponsors.
Ken Winston, Jack Kairy, Dennis Mudd, and I were staged in the 55 group near the rear. At the start of the race all categories left at the same time so the three of us move up through the large peloton to our other teammates near the front. I worked my way up to Greg Twitty and Bryan Taylor in the 40+ group at the start of the long climb so I could try and stay up with them on the decent. They are the best on the descents and as a nervous old guy, I am more confident following them down then guiding myself solo on the fast descent! Greg pulled away because there was a rider between Bryan and me. We never saw Greg again. This whole time I was waiting for Ken to fly by me because he is such a great descender. I found out after I finished that Ken had flatted at the start of the downhill (along with many other racers). I continued the race riding behind Bryan to the finish line. I am grateful to have Bryan leading me through the technical descents!
I am looking forward to many more races with a great team!