Marathon National Champion Payson McElveen took the top spot on the podium today for the second year in a row with a time of 2:08:43 at the Chequamegon MTB Festival, presented by Trek, produced by Lifetime.
McElveen, 25, of Durango, Co. rides for Team Orange Seal. This was his second Fat Tire. He was followed in second by Cole House at 2:11:22 and six-time champion Brian Matter at 2:11:25.
Challenged by two-plus inches of rain that fell hours before the race, McElveen said it was a much tougher course than last year.
“It was such a slog,” he said. “It was so wet, so unbelievably wet. There were puddles that seemed like they were two-feet deep and you’d just go in blindly hoping it wasn’t too bad.”
McElveen said he struggled with drive-train and brake issues but pulled away from the pack at Fire Tower.
House said he was happy with his second place finish, offering his kudos to McElveen and noting “There’s a reason he’s a National Champion.”
Matter said he thoroughly enjoyed the race, calling it “fun and hard,” and saying it has been some time since the he’d raced a muddy Chequamegon.
“I loved it,” he said. “I think it was a fun one, the kind of Chequamegon that makes for good memories.”
In the women’s 40 Jenna Rinehart, 34, finished first at 2:35:16, coming back strong from an injury last year.
“This is my first big race since then and it was tough,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be that wet, but it was a good race. I spent a lot of time by myself as we were really spread out.”
In second place was Sara Kylander-Johnson, who came back strong at 2:40:23 after a mountain bike accident last year that left her with six broken bones. Kylander-Johnson, who won in 2006 said it was a hard course this year, but more fun than she thought it would be.
“Hey, I’m just happy to be alive,” she said.
Jenny Binkowski came in third at 2:46:52, finishing her first mountain bike race ever, citing it as “the best time I’ve ever had on a bike.”
In the men’s tandem, father son/duo Adam and Kevin Froemming took first place again this year with a time of 2:47:53, followed by Scott Kylander-Johnson and Ron Raymond at 3:06:18 and Will Kratz and Benjamin Menk at 3:10:57.
Kylander-Johnson rode his first tandem race after 15 years of Raymond encouraging him to ride with him. “It was really, really tough and I won’t be doing it again,” he joked.
In the mixed tandem, Jeff Colbert and Pamela Neilsen came in first with a time of 3:07:47, followed by Jess Kruchoski and Renea Wrecke at 3:23:42 and Joel and Elise Coon at 3:31:28.
In the Short and Fat men’s it was a case of de ja vu, as last year’s winner, Daxton Mock came in first at 55:43:54, followed by last year’s second place, Calvin Sandberg at 55:43:65 and last year’s third placer, Pavel Nelson at 56:08:46.
In the Short and Fat women’s Zoe Camp came in first at 1:05:08. Second on the podium was Rebecca Sauber at 1:06:55, and third was Jennifer Mettler at 1:08:05.
In the Short and Fat men’s tandem Kevin and Aiden Ishaug came in first at 1:00:12, followed by Nico and Wallace Alexander 1:05:33 and Maury and Owen Malanaphy at 1:06:00. In the mixed tandem, former 40 tandem champs Sanjay and Anna Ganju finished first with at time of 1:06:18, followed in second by Mark and Kerry Sarder at 1:25:53 and Darcy and Norm Busse at 1:29:41.
A total of 3,100 riders participated in the festival, including a sold-out field of 2,100 riders in the Chequamegon 40, which started on Main Street in Hayward and finished at Mt. Telemark. Another 1,000 riders started at the same time in downtown Cable and raced 16 miles in the Short & Fat, which also finished at Mt. Telemark.
For a full list of results, visit www.cheqmtb.com/results-photos/
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