Weins and Smith reach top five
While most of us stayed at home for a Fourth of July ski, ride or hike with friends and to witness the parade on Elk Avenue, several riders from the Gunnison Valley headed to Breckenridge, Colo. to compete in the Firecracker 50, an endurance mountain bike race starting and finishing in Breckenridge.
The course consisted of two, 25-mile laps, each one with 5,400 vertical feet of climbing connecting jeep roads and single-track.
For the second year in a row, the Firecracker 50 played host to the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike Championships, attracting some of the top endurance riders in the nation. The winner in each of the 12 open categories was awarded a stars and stripes uniform and recognized as the national champion endurance rider of their class.
Leading the valley charge were Gunnison residents Dave Weins and Jenny Smith, racing in the pro men and pro women categories, respectively.
Weins finished in fourth place overall, completing the course in a time of 3:51:35.
Smith had a similar fourth-place showing, crossing the finish line in a time of 4:47:36.
Carol Quinn competed in the women’s Maverick class. The Maverick class was flush with talent and designed for the upper level rider who did not wish to compete for the national championship and/or is not a U.S. citizen and is too strong to legitimately ride in the sport classes.
Quinn battled to a fourth-place finish in the Maverick class, with a time of 5:46:22.
The local bike racing team, Team Brick Oven/Crested Butte Builders, attacked the field of riders with team members competing in four different categories. Some flourished under the pressure of the field and the state of the course, while others perished.
Andrew Feeney led the team with a 17th-place finish among pro men with a time of 4:33:01, followed by Jeff Irwin with a time of 5:12:51 and a 30th-place finish.
Ethan Passant raced in the open men’s category age 35-39 and took 10th place with a time of 4:45:13, and Johnny Biggers represented in the open class ages 40-49 with a time of 4:46:14 to take 14th place.
Missy Ochs carried the Brick Oven/Crested Butte Builders colors to fourth place in the women’s sport class ages 30-39, coming in with a time of 6:15:47, and Tim Poppe of Crested Butte took 14th place in the sport men category age 35-39 with a time of 5:38:03.