Team Off the Back wins third

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— Team Off the Back has spent the summer racing around the clock.

Most recently, the foursome of Brad White, Essam Welch, Nate Juden and Matt Hannon won the men's expert division of the Kona Global Series mountain bike race Sleepless in the Saddle, at Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby.

The foursome hasn't won a lot of prize money for its 24-hour racing feats, but that doesn't matter, White said.

"It's rewarding knowing you're going out there, and it's a sense of accomplishment," White said.

It was the third victory of the summer for the team. The group started off with a second-place finish in the highly competitive 24 Hours of Moab in October.

Jon Freckleton subbed for Hannon during the 24 Hours of Steamboat after Hannon broke his patella in a running race.

Doug Demusz subbed for Welch during the 24 Hours in the Sage race in Gunnison after Welch broke his collarbone during a mountain bike race.

Team Off the Back won both races. "The hardest one was Steamboat, for sure," White said. "Granby, I think there was 1,400 (vertical feet gained). Gunnison is like 1,100, but it was more of a technical course. Moab is probably the most difficult. It's like 16.5 miles."

White, who owns Brooklyn's Pizzeria, Welch, an employee at the Village of Steamboat, Juden, a chef at Old West Steak House, and Hannon, of Fort Collins, reunited for the Sleepless in the Saddle race Sept. 9 and 10. They plan to race again in the 24 Hours of Moab on Oct. 15 and 16.

"We should have won it last year," White said. "But we had a 15-minute mechanical (problem) in the middle of the night."

Freckleton, Demusz, Bo Randolph and Tom Bedell plan to race in the men's expert division this year in Moab, as well.

The 24 Hours of Moab usually draws some of the nation's and world's top solo riders, but Team Off the Back is sticking to team racing.

"Four-person teams, you ride as hard as you can for your lap," White said. "You come back and recover, and three hours later you put the hammer down again."

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