By Shannon Boffeli — Round 3 of the 2013 Utah State Championship series kicked off on June 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. The Round Valley trail system played host to the penultimate stop on the USCS tour.
Riders were rewarded with moderate temperatures for the afternoon start.
Laps came in at just under 9 miles with plenty of short, fast climbs to torch the legs and tight, winding singletrack to test the handling skills. Pro men would complete three and a half laps while the pro women would do three.
The men’s race featured several local hotshots as well as reigning national cyclocross Jonathon Page (Competitive Cyclist) and USCS points leader Ben Aufderheide (The Hub). Aufderheide has been on a roll this season taking second at round one and first two weekends ago at the Wasatch Back 50.
Aufderheide took the early led through the first lap. Pushing the pace on the climbs he opened a lead over the field leaving everyone but Page in his dust.
Page was never far behind though and as lap two started he decided to take over the lead.
Once out front the cyclocross champ displayed his abilities on the mountain bike slowly extending his lead throughout the course.
By the finish Page would have just over a minute lead on Aufderheide who easily held on to his points lead with another second place. Park City local Nate Miller (Honey Stinger) took third place followed by Geoffrey Montague (Noble Sports) and Bryson Perry (DNA Cycling).
The excitement in the women’s race began even before the race started. Meghan Sheridan (UtahMountainBiking.com), one of Utah’s top female riders, arrived at the start line ready to race but without a bike. Her bike was stuck in a traffic jam. By start time it still had not arrived and she was forced to watch the race from the sidelines.
That left Jen Hanks (Epic Brewing/MTBRaceNews.com) and Erin Swenson (3B Yoga) locked in a head-to-head battle for the win.
These two experienced riders tested each other throughout the race. Riding side-by-side after the start they matched each other until Hanks took the early lead in the singletrack.
Swenson stayed close never letting the leader out of sight.
Hanks held the lead into lap three when she began to suffer some potentially race-ending leg cramps. Ultimately, the Epic Brewing rider was able to stave off serious cramping until after the finish line. She cross the line with just over a minute buffer on Erin Swenson.
This race win was particularly sweet for Hanks as this is her last race before starting chemotherapy for a breast cancer recurrence in a little more than a week. This will be her second round of chemotherapy in the last two years. She is optimistic for a full recovery following treatment.
The final round of the Utah State Championship Series will take place September 21st in Draper, Utah. The Draper Fall Classic is a rider favorite consisting of two 25-mile laps on Draper’s Corner Canyon trail system. For more information about the Utah State Championship series or the Draper Fall Classic visit http://www.raceuscs.com