cycling utah July 1999
By Robert L. Truelsen
Utah's late, wet Spring cast a cloud over the expected summer festivities of the South Beach Boogie June 5 in Tooele. But racers left only their beach clothes at home and brought everything else including their competitive fire.
Eric Jones (Sobe HeadShock) has left his slow Spring start well behind him and is shredding up the courses now. Following a fine fifth-place finish at the Iron Horse Classic in Durango during the Memorial Day weekend, Jones continued his strong riding by waltzing away from the Men's Pro/Expert field.
Clouds threatened rain during the race but never produced, much to the approval of all the participants. Earlier rain created just enough mud to cause racers problems with their drive systems and clogging brakes. Many riders took advantage of stream crossings to give their bikes a quick dunk to rid themselves of some Tooele goo.
"It was nasty," Jones admitted after the race. "My gears were slipping and I tried to clean off in the creeks.
"It was hard. The first lap I just powered," Jones said. "Tim Brown stuck with me for a while. I could see him on the first lap.
"The grass meadow was the toughest part of the course," he said, "it was bumpy and that takes a lot of your energy."
Jones planned on racing at the Pittsburgh NCS race the following week. "It's always muddy," he said, "this race was good preparation for Pittsburgh."
Sobe HeadShock made it a one-two finish with Brown taking second place behind Jones, despite taking a header in the creek.
"Both of us shot up the road," Brown recounted. "I waited for Eric to show the way to the single track. Then I looked up and he was gone.
"I tried to bunny hop on the downhills to knock off the mud."
The first-year pro is glad to have Jones as a teammate. "It's good to have two guys. Eric shows me how it's done."
Brown waited until race day to decide on which tires to use. "It was super muddy. I debated which tires to use. I decided the thinner the better. Every lap it got worse."
The course conditions may have dampened the spirits of some of the riders, including Brown.
"I was not motivated. I even thought about dropping out but I couldn't drop out while in second-place," Brown said.
Brown also rode off course at one point and had to ride across a meadow when he saw a red course flag. This added to the lead Jones already had.
Teresa Eggertsen (Micro Supreme) returned to Utah from a recent race trip to Europe and the World Cup circuit to claim the Women's Pro/Expert race. Ronda Reasner (Sobe HeadShock) rode a strong race for second place.
But Eggertsen's European excursion may have hurt her a bit, at least at the start.
"I felt bad the first lap," Eggertsen said, "I didn't warm up. I was so cold and felt pretty out of it. It's my first race at altitude. I've been in Europe and I could feel it the first lap - the burn."
The mud caused Eggertsen some trouble as well. "I had no shifting on the second lap," she said, "I washed the bike but had to walk a couple of times."
Eggertsen compared the course favorably to those she raced in Europe. "It's a fun course, a good design. It's my first local race and I'm glad I came."
In addition to her racing, Eggertsen plans to run for Athlete At Large Trustee of NORBA. The position is for an athlete representative and will provide an opportunity to be heard.
While many riders grumbled about the mud, second-place Women's finisher Reasner actually enjoyed it.
"It was really fun," Reasner said. "I love riding in mud. I'm from Pennsylvania and there's lots of mud out there. Perseverance in the mud pays off. The last lap was sweet. The loose mud was packed down and you could just crank."
Crowd favorite had to be Adam Dern who walked the course with his bike over his shoulder. He was determined to make it to the podium despite a mechanical failure. To lighten the load, he removed his wheels and carried the frame. Bravo Adam.