By Jared Eborn
The Porcupine Hill Climb has established itself as one of the toughest, if shortest, races in Utah.
Starting at the bottom of Big Cottonwood Canyon and finished at 8,755 feet at the base of Brighton Ski Resort, the Porcupine Hill Climb has attracted large fields and raised thousands of dollars for the Huntsman Cancer Institute over the years.
The 11th running of the event proved the competition is getting just as tough as the canyon itself.
Salt Lake City’s Tyler Wren, looking for a little uphill interval training prior to defending his title at the Crusher in the Tushar race, launched himself up Big Cottonwood Canyon and in the process nearly broke the 60-minute mark.
Climbing the 14.7 miles and 3,800 feet of vertical gain in just one hour and four seconds, Wren, riding for Jamis-Sutter Home, set a pace that was simply too much to deal with – even for a handful of other racers who were on a record pace themselves.
Backcountry.com’s Chris Mackay’s time 1:00:19 would have been plenty fast enough to claim victory on most years. Revolution-Café Rio rider Jake Stocking’s 1:00:31 was good enough for only third this time around as 18-year-old rising stars T.J. Eisenhart (FFKR Architects) and Chris Putt (Canyon Bicycles) set a blistering pace to each finish at 1:00:33 to round out the podium.
But Wren was not to be denied as conditions on the road were almost perfect for the race.
“That was brutal,” Wren said after crossing the finish line and claiming a new set of skis from Surface Skis for having the fastest overall men’s time in the process. “I didn’t seem like we had much let up at all. We went out hard and just kept going.”
Revolution-Café Rio’s Anne Perry set the standard in the Women’s Pro 1-2-3 field with a time of 1:07:51. That was nearly five minutes better than any other female on the road with Ski Utah’s Alison Frye (1:12:28), Breanne Nalder (1:12:43) and Robynn Masters (1:14:10) leading the chase.
The Men’s Cat 3 field saw some of the best racing, as Skullcandy/Think Architecture’s Tyler Kirk had enough left in the tank to outsprint Canyon Bicycle’s Bonn Turkington at the line for a finish of 1:04:47. Simon Parsons (Revolution-Café Rio) was third at 1:06:56.
Mark Zimbleman and Scott Allen had a similarly close race in the Men’s Masters 40-plus field with Zimbleman hitting the line at 1:04:45, just a second ahead of Allen. Eric rounded out the podium with a 1:06:11 time.
Infinite Cycles Ryan Kingsolver showed he’s pushing for an upgrade with his Cat 4 victory and time of 1:05:35. Luke Stevenson (Dialogue Racing) and Lucas Parker (Spider Bait Cycling) weren’t far behind with times of 1:05:46 and 1:05:47, respectively.
Dirk Cowley was again the first to the finish line in the Men’s Masters 55-plus field with an impressive 1:09:20 time, beating fellow FFKR racer Lorin Ronnow (1:12:34) and Bountiful Mazda’s Jerald Hunsaker (1:13:39) to the top step of the podium.
Showing there is plenty of talent in the lower classifications John Goodson blew away the Cat 5 field with a 1:06:08 mark while Zach Pina wasn’t far behind at 1:08:58.
Mind McCutcheon (1:18:08) won the Women’s Cat 4 field and Pam DalCanto (1:14:47) took top honors win the Women’s Master division. Tim Matthews (1:06:50) brought home first place in the Men’s Masters 35B competition.
In it’s 11th year, the Porcupine Hill Climb also sponsored a citizen’s ‘fun ride’ that saw some impressive times, paced by Tom Thorne’s 1:14:44. Jolene Dewaal had the fastest women’s time at 1:22:21.