Matt Bradley and Jen Hanks are our 2011 Riders of the Year

By Dave Iltis –

Another great season of cycling is winding down in Utah and the Intermountain West, and it’s time again for our year-end awards where we recognize stellar performances in the cycling world.

This year, two cyclists had our attention.

Matt Bradley, who overcame cancer to race again in 2011. Photo by Dave Iltis.

Matt Bradley was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2010 and lost his lower leg as a result. That didn’t stop him from riding. He picked up almost where he left off before the diagnosis. He finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the time trial, criterium, and road race at the paracycling national championships. Picked for the national team, he went on to ride the world championships and helped his teammate to finish 4th in the road race. He also raced as a cat 3 in the UCA races and in the Utah Cyclocross Series. In our June 2011 issue, Jared Eborn wrote this about him: There are times, Bradley admits, cancer could get him down. But he won’t let that happen. “Even last place,” he said, “is better than just sitting on the couch and not doing anything.”

Jen Hanks was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year. One of Utah’s strongest pro women mountain bike riders, she kept on riding through treatment (read her blog at: athletefightscancer.blogspot.com) and after. Jen stayed strong throughout, and was competing again by season’s end, winning the duo category at the 6 Hours of Frog Hollow. Recently she wrote on her blog: “Cancer has changed me. It has taken things away from me. It has not taken away my ability to race my bike!”

Jen Hanks, who overcame breast cancer to race again in 2011. Photo by Dave Iltis.

That resilience of spirit led us to chose Matt Bradley and Jen Hanks as our Riders of the Year.

Nicole Evans won 15 UCA races this season continuing her streak at the top of the UCA leaderboard. She also raced nationally throughout the season and picked up a 10th place overall at the Tour of the Gila and 7th at Valley of the Sun. Nicole is our Female Road Racer of the Year.

Chase Pinkham finished a top the leaderboard in the pro/1/2 category of the UCA Series winning the overall at the High Uintas Classic, the Antelope Island Road Race, and a stage of the Tour of the Depot. He won 14 races in the weekday Utah Crit Series. Chase also raced nationally, taking 10th place in both the US Professional Road Race Championship and the time trial, and finished the Tour of Utah. Chase is our Male Road Racer of the Year.

Keegan Swenson raced on his mountain bike locally, nationally, and internationally, taking 4th overall in the Pro Category of the Intermountain Cup Series, 1st overall in the Utah State Championship Series, and second in the Dealer Camp STXC among a star studded field. He won numerous races across the country in the junior 17-18 category and finished 2nd in both the XC and STXC at the USA Cycling National MTB Championships. He also took second in a major Swiss MTB race. Keegan Swenson is our Male Mountain Bike Racer of the Year.

Erica Tingey topped the bunch in the Intermountain Cup Series, winning 3 races on the way to the overall. She finished 3rd overall in the Utah State Championship Series, and won the Mt. Ogden 50K. Erica is our Female Mountain Bike Racer of the Year.

In 2010, Kris Walker won 4 races in the Utah Cyclocross Series and the overall. She topped this off with a national championship in the 50-54 age group. Kris Walker is our Female Cyclocross Racer of the Year (2010 season).

Bart Gillespie won the overall in the Utah Cyclocross Series again last season. We are not sure how many times he has done this, but it’s been at least 15. He won 7 of 9 races he entered, always in style. Bart is our Male Cyclocross Rider of the Year (2010 season).

Christine Dern won the overall for the Cat 1 women in the Utah Downhill Series and finished second in the PRO GRT downhill. She is our pick for Female Downhiller of the Year.

Logan Bingelli won the USA Cycling Gravity National Mountain Bike Championship in the Pro Men’s Category, finished 4th in the dual slalom, won the PRO GRT race in Truckee, California, and won one race of the Utah Downhill Series. Logan is our Male Downhiller of the Year.

Chad Mullins has worked tirelessly on improving bike conditions in Salt Lake County. As chair of the Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee, he has convinced Salt Lake County to pass one of the more progressive Complete Streets ordinances in the country. He has written several editorials in the local daily paper (see them also on cylingutah.com). And, under his tenure, Salt Lake County is developing a best practices guide for bike facilities. While Salt Lake County has a long way to go, they would be completely stalled without Chad’s leadership. Chad Mullins is our Bike Advocate of the Year.

Bad Ass Coffee was on a roll this year. Over 170 team riders participated in many events with the goal of fundraising for charity. They were the top team in the MS Bike Tour raising $93,000 and were second in the Tour de Cure with $60,000. They also provided numerous volunteers for both events. Bad Ass Coffee is our Touring Club of the Year.

Canyon Bicycles topped the overall combined points in both the UCA series, and the Utah Crit Series, just beating out FFKR/SBO. They fielded riders across most categories, and were consistent throughout the season. Canyon Bicycles is our Road Racing Team of the Year.

Mad Dog Cycles dethroned perennial champion UtahMountainBiking.com in the Intermountain Cup. They finished 4th overall (and 1st in the 5 man category) in the 24 Hours of Moab, and hold organized trail building days as well as group rides. Mad Dog Cycles is our Mountain Bike Racing Team of the Year.

LOTOJA, the 206 mile race from Logan to Jackson, is tough, well run, and charitable. This year they raised $175000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and over the years have raised $700,000. LOTOJA is our Event of the Year.

Honorable Mentions go to:

Laura Howat for taking second in the UCA series and winning the Masters National Criterium Championship.

Stan Swallow for taking second in the Masters National 70-74 Road Race, and two golds, a silver, and the overall at the Huntsman Senior Games. He also runs the successful Utah Velo Club.

Hilary Crowley, for winning the 35-39 National Road Race. Katie Clouse for winning the 10 and under National XC Championship and Jason Sparks for winning the 40-44. Muffy Davis won the silver in handcycling at the World Paracycling Championships.

Rob Squire and Tayler Wiles for winning U-23 National Championships.

Bo Pitkin for racing both singlespeed and 35+A in cyclocross locally, finishing 2nd and 4th in the series, and for racing in the national championships, finishing 11th and 8th.

Nicky Wangsgard for winning the International Cycling Classic (Superweek) overall for the 3rd year in a row.

Jason Tolman for overcoming three surgeries in the last few years to raise funds on several charity rides.

Tyler Wren for winning the Vuelta a Chile, the Crusher in the Tushars, and finishing both the Tour of California and the Tour of Utah.

And last, but not least, we would be remiss if we didn’t also recognize several others that we know about and many that we don’t who have struggled through cancer and kept riding. Cindy Yorgason also fought breast cancer and was on the bike at Cross Out Cancer. Matt, Jen, Cindy, Steve Miller, Nick Ekdahl, Conor O’Leary, Todd Hageman, and many others who we don’t know have kept riding and fighting and lead the rest of us by setting a great example.

We would like to thank our readers and advertisers and the entire Utah and Intermountain cycling community for another incredible year of cycling. Have a great winter riding. We’ll see you in the spring!

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.