Dong wins race, but Huck’s charge wins Mountain Queen – The Durango Herald
Chain broken early slows down but doesn’t stop Boulder’s wife
As the runners sprinted off the start line in search of a hole shot, Erin Huck suddenly looked down, noticing a loss of power. His chain was broken.
The 39-year-old Olympic hopeful from Boulder pulled himself to the side and watched the women’s professional mountain bike race out of Durango Mesa Park on Sunday at the 49th Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. The favorite to win the race and the title of Queen of the Mountains for the IHBC didn’t know what to do next.
With the chain in hand, Huck asked if it was OK to try to replace it. Granted permission, she ran to a friendly Boulder Junior Cycling team van, where she got a new channel. After falling six minutes behind, she got back on her bike and embarked on a 27-mile assault on the course that spanned three laps between the Durango Mesa Park trail system and Hose Gulch.
“I didn’t have any tools or anything to fix it so that would have been a race for me. I was just happy to have the opportunity to run, ”said Huck. “I hadn’t done my due diligence with the maintenance of the bikes before that. I’m just glad it happened early on so I was able to get some help instead of being there on my own.
Taking time out of the rest of the women’s field every second, Huck ended up in third place after two laps. Unable to catch up with Evelyn Dong of Utah or Madigan Munro of Boulder, this was where Huck would end a day after claiming the IHBC women’s professional road race victory on the 47 mile Durango to Silverton route.
Dong, who finished third in the road race, would win Sunday’s grueling mountain bike race in 2 hours, 35 minutes, 50 seconds. Runners who participate in both road bike and mountain bike races earn points for the Queen of the Mountains ranking. Dong was third in the women’s road race, giving her and Huck 48 points. But the tiebreaker went to Huck for winning the road race, and Dong thought that was exactly how it should have been.
“The road race should be a little more weighted. This is the first event, and mountain biking is the dog’s hair, ”said Dong.
For Huck, who will likely be selected by USA Cycling as the team’s third female rider at the Tokyo Olympics later this summer, winning the sustained women’s road race and a memorable mountain bike ride was the perfect way to return. at the Colorado Mountain Bike World Cup early in the season in Europe.
“It was exactly what the doctor ordered. It was great fun to run with such great people and to be in a race with people who were cheering us on, ”said Huck. “I don’t know how long it has been since we last had applause at a race in Colorado, so it was quite special.”
Munro finished second on Sunday, 3:46 am Dong’s dominant performance. Huck was third, 4:14 back after almost catching up with the young driver from Boulder.
To even get back into the pro ladies field and overtake 15 of those riders, Huck also had to get around 23 runners in the 19-34 year old men who had started shortly after the pro women.
“It was really difficult. There weren’t a lot of fleeting opportunities. When it was open it was a full gas sprint as hard as I could over and over again, ”Huck said. “But it was also pretty cool because I was always with people, except on the last lap where I was pretty much alone.
Dong had a crash on the first lap on the first descent and again on the last corner before crossing the finish line. But nothing could stop her from securing the victory, even though she knew that young horsemen like Durango’s Munro and Ruth Holcomb were powerful challengers.
“Children come out very hard. I’m too old for that, ”said Dong, 36. “I stayed behind the kids a bit and they were going fast. If it was a two-lap race, one of the kids would have won. In the second lap I decided to open it up a bit on this second climb and slowly took a gap.
Holcomb, 18, was third after one lap, not far behind Dong and Munro. But a puncture at the end of the second lap would end her day, and she didn’t end up on a hot and windy afternoon.
“It’s so hot and all the climbs are so brutal,” said Holcomb. “I knew Erin wasn’t with us at the start so I knew I had to really hold on there on the descents to keep her away from me because I can’t keep up with her pace on the climbs. . Second lap, going down the last descent, I hit a rock and flattened my tire.
Holcomb, who still races at the junior level in UCI events, was thrilled to be racing alongside established pros such as Dong and Huck in his hometown race.
“Erin is amazing, but Evelyn was flying there so it was going to be tough. But seeing Erin come back six minutes is out of this world, ”she said. “Seeing the level they’re running at is insane and inspiring. It’s so much fun to learn from them and see where they are at. “
Ellen Campbell of Durango would be fourth, 18:59 behind Dong’s winning time. Behind her was a long list of Durango talent with Bailey Cioppa, Lauren Aggeler, Madelyn Roberson and Michaela Thompson finishing fifth to eighth respectively.
Only nine pro women finished the race of the 18 who started. While the course is a tall order, Holcomb said she hopes the traditional IHBC mountain bike course in downtown Durango involving Steamworks Brewing Co. will return next year once the COVID-19 pandemic has hit. will be under control.
“I would have been good with two laps on this course,” said Holcomb. “This is the longest race other than the road race (Saturday), which I have done all year. Nothing wrong with that, but I was tired and ready to be done early.
“It was fun on these trails, but there is something so special about running in downtown Durango with the whole city around you, and there were a lot of secluded spots on the course today. .