Wednesday, October 25, 2000
It's an annual race that challenges some of the best mountain bike riders in the world to spend 24 hours in the Utah desert testing themselves and their machines.
The 24 hours of Moab came to an end Oct. 15 with six local teams showing well in the final results.
The top local team, Steamboat's Tour the Peaks, led by local Robert Ames, crossed the finish line in second place. His team completed 18 laps around the course and finished just 1 minute, 45 seconds behind the winners, John William Bomber Builders of Crested Butte, in the five-person open division.
"The whole idea when we went down there was to have some fun and ride as hard as we could," Ames said.
The team included locals Ames, Amy Harris and Marc Sehler. Circ Toepel of Littleton and Vic Marlow of California were also on the team.
Most of the Steamboat team's group competed in the 104-team open division. More than 250 teams took part in the 24-hour event held in the Behind the Rocks Road area.
"I left it all out there," Ames said. "After the race, I couldn't get off of my bike. I couldn't unclip and I fell to the ground."
Ames started the final lap about 10 minutes behind the leaders and pulled to less than 2 minutes at the finish. The race began Oct. 14 at noon and no teams were allowed to start another lap after noon Oct. 15.
"It was a total surprise," Ames said of his team's finish.
The squad was made up of four first-time riders and one veteran of the race. Ames was also proud that the squad kept its original rotation through the entire race and never pulled female rider Harris the only veteran in the group from the rotation.
The rules of the race state that each rider on the team is required to complete at least two 16-mile laps. After that, teams can start dropping riders from the rotation.
Several of the winning teams elected to drop the female rider in order to improve their squad's overall finish late in the race. This wasn't the case with Ames' team.
"Amy Harris did really, really well," Ames said. "We went down there as a team and we didn't want to pull anybody just to win."
Ames said the move didn't hurt the Steamboat team as Harris posted some of the fasted times for the group.
The other Steamboat teams also posted top results. The Steamboat Slick Shifters, organized by local Steve Dressen, finished 19th in the standings with 16 laps.
"It was a really fun experience," Dressen said of the race. "I think our team really came together and everything ran pretty smoothly."
It was the first time Dressen and his teammates Ron Famiglietti, Mike Walker, Shelly Bonner and Steve Jones had ever taken part in the race. However, Dressen said he expects most of the riders to return to the seventh running next year.
Asleep in the Saddle, another local team sponsored by Larry Johnson, placed 30th with 15 laps. The team was made up of local riders Ethan Johnson, Todd Wilson, Steph Ossen, Marc Bennett and Travis Jones. Johnson did not race this year because of an injury.
"Last year we finished 14 laps," Johnson said. "Our goal going into this race was to complete 15."
The CMC Alpine Campus Mountain Bike Club also entered two teams. There was a five-person open team that included Sandra Fortier, Cory Sobin, Nathan Erbe, Chris Bayer and Mike Darlington. They finished 88th with 12 total laps. Another CMC team, which included David Visnack, Aaron Ross, George Young and Brandon Dayon, placed 45th in the sport class. Dan Foote's Two Foote Italian Cracker team placed 60th in the sports class with 15 laps. That squad included Dave and Chris Foote, Frank Geeslin and Paolo Guidi.
"It's exotic," Johnson said of the race. "You're in the middle of nowhere with 3,000 other cyclists. It's mountain bike racing in its purest form."####