cycling utah October 1999

Idaho champs crowned at Brundage Festival

By Doug Karcher

The Wild Rockies Unplugged Mountain Bike Race Series wrapped up its 9-event 1999 Racing Series on September 11-12 with the 7th Annual Brundage Mountain Bike Festival.

Ron Dillon and his hard working crew came back to the beautiful Brundage Mountain Ski Resort located just outside of McCall, Idaho for the site of Idaho's Official State Mountain Bike Championships.

Perfect weather and excellent conditions (okay, so there was a little dust) greeted racers from near and far as they lined up for the start of the Cross Country event on Saturday. Pros and Experts would tackle two laps of the 11-mile course, while the Sportsman and Beginner classes did one lap.

At the Pro/Semi-Pro Men finish, it was Boulder based, Ionic Cycles factory rider, Nathan Schultz in first place with a time of 1:53:13. Less than a minute and a half back, Alex Gardner took second with Kelly Williamson third. First in the Pro-Expert Women class went to Claudia Soddemann with a time of 2:27:37, who finished almost 17 minutes ahead of second place Shirley Williamson and third place Leslie Lane.

Probably the closest racing of the day was seen in the Clydesdale Sport/Expert Men, where after an hour and fifty one minutes of racing, the top three racers; Rich McChrystal, Mark Stones and Henry Harper all crossed the finish line within one minute and three seconds of each other.

As anyone who has been to a Wild Rockies event knows the kids have a special place. Because they are the racers of the future and Ron and crew always try to make them feel right at home. Kids had three classes to choose from: 12 and Under; Trailblazers, with a shortened course for first-time racers; and last but not least, "little kids" races where they raced around the start-finish area with everyone earning ribbons.

Sunday morning, the ski lift was running early. Racers could be seen alone or in two's or three's taking the long ride to the top of the mountain, their exotic downhill bikes dangling from the chair. It took most far longer to ride the lift up than it did to ride their bike down the mountain.

Top honors in the Pro-Expert Men's Downhill went to Silas Hesterberg, followed by Dave O'Reilly and Keith DeFiebre. The Pro-Expert Ladies class was topped by Sabrina Yost, with SJ Thoreson second and Monica Souza third.

The exciting course featured the Rock Garden, a steep section through giant boulders that seems at first to be unridable. This section is usually under 15 to 20 feet of snow in the winter and it's where the extreme skiers do their thing without regard to the boulders deep beneath the snow.

After the Rock Garden, racers encountered a short, steep section that proved a greater threat for many than the rocks. This trail's powdery top layer gave little clue of what lay beneath. More than a few racers made their way successfully through the more dramatic rocky section above only to be thrown over the bars in this one.

For more complete results and more information about this and next year's Wild Rockies Series, go to their website at

A pioneer and leader in Mountain Bike Programs, Brundage Ski Resort maintains an extensive system of trails for all ability levels from beginner to expert. All accessible from the main chair lift which operates each weekend throughout the summer. They also offer bike rentals and repairs and can be reached at (800) 888-7544.

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