By Nate Gibby — ST. GEORGE, UTAH — After 28 miles and nearly 2,000’ of elevation gain, Zach Calton (Spry – Legacy Properties West Racing) edged out Alex Grant (Cannondale/Gear Rush) by less than one second to win the Elite Men’s division at the Red Rock Rampage X-country MTB race, the inaugural race of the 2018 Intermountain Cup series, held on March 26, 2018 in St. George, Utah.
“On the second climb Alex attacked me hard and I went with him, as soon he let up I attacked him as an effort to get away, [or] at least to get to the front for the descent,” said Calton. “I didn't get away, but I was in front and I liked my chances in a sprint.”
Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX/Hyperthreads) rounded out the podium in an incredibly competitive Elite Men’s race in which the top five racers finished within three minutes of each other.
The equally competitive women’s elite division featured two top-10 racers from last year’s American National Championship at Snowshoe, W.Va., sixth-place finisher Evelyn Dong (Full Cycle) and Nicole Tittensor (Jan’s Park City/Scott Bikes/Reynolds Cycling). Facing a strong challenge from third-place finisher Meghan Sheridan (Bingham Cyclery/W | Law), Dong created separation on the first lap and held on for a 1:05 win over Tittensor.
“[Dong] is pretty strong and a really good climber,” said Tittensor. “I decided to hop on her wheel on the first set of rolling hills and stay with her. We went into the first wash and she started to pull away from me.”
With a strong showing of over 450 racers, the Red Rock Rampage demonstrated once again how both mountain bike racing and the Intermountain Cup continue to grow in the Intermountain West.
“Over the last two years, the Intermountain Cup has continued to focus on rider experience,” said Joel Rackham, managing partner of Intermountain Cup. “As people continue to focus on their health, we continue to see large increases in our female riders and masters division (35 years old and older).”
One of our areas of focus has been in drawing more girls and women and we continue to see year over year growth. Our masters division (35 and older) continues to see tremendous growth as people focus more on their health.”
Founded in 1991, the Intermountain Cup consists of X-country and endurance MTB races throughout Utah. With seven X-country races of approximately 25 miles and one endurance races of approximately 50 miles, the series covers some of the most pristine and difficult rides in the state.
Next up in the Intermountain Cup X-Country series is Catcus Hugger on April 28, 2018 in Hurricane, Utah. With the majestic peaks of Zions National Park as a backdrop, the Cactus Hugger features 8.5-laps and 550’ of gain per lap on one of the most scenic desert courses in the world.
More information, and a complete schedule of upcoming races, is available at intermountaincup.com.