By Lukas Brinkerhoff
The Cactus Hugger Intermountain Cup was held on April 27, 2019 in St. George.
Natalie Quinn took top honors in the Elite Women’s Category at the Cactus Hugger showing she can podium on techy, punchy courses, and on all out pedal fests. This is her second first place finish in as many races.
Letting Sarah Kaufman set the pace, Quinn planned for a sprint finish.
Describing her race, she said, “I find super punchy courses with fast downhills to be more my style. That’s why I let Sarah set the pace. I figured that if it came to a sprint finish, I would try to beat her then. But near the beginning of the third lap, I got tangled with a teammate while trying to pass him. Sarah just took off after that. She gained a huge lead that I was trying to close the entire third lap. And then she got a flat, and my plan of a sprint finish was done with.”
Quinn crossed the finish line followed by another high schooler, Kendyl Nelson. KC Holley came in next rounding out the ladies’ top three.
In the Elite Men’s Category, Bryson Perry stood on top of the podium.
Perry said the race was pretty tactical mentioning both the heat, race day saw temperatures in the upper 80s, and the slightly longer course.
The Cactus Hugger course is fast and usually requires the ability to stay on the gas the entire race. The uphills aren’t super steep and the downhills are fast and flowy. There aren’t a lot of spots to rest.
He continues, “In a race that long pacing is key but positioning in your group is really important too as it’s so hard to pass. I think it helps to race from the front in a race like that and then recover when you want to recover.”
In addition to good tactics, he adds, “Suspension set up out there was pretty valuable. I ran my Specialized Epic FS for the race and it was awesome.”
Perry’s teammate Brennon Peterson took 2nd place.
Peterson describes getting the hole shot on the singletrack to take the lead at the start of the race echoing some of the tactics Perry described, “The race was going very well for me straight off the start. I was able to enter the singletrack first and it allowed me to ride at my own pace. After a few minutes I could tell that I was pulling away from the others and had an increasing gap. Just before the descent, I looked back and saw that my gap had increased from a few seconds to about 20 seconds. Unfortunately, I took a bad line going down one of the rocky sections near the end of the lap and punctured my tire.”
Despite flatting and falling to the back of the pack, he was able to pick off positions through the next few laps and made his way back up to 2nd. Rylan Schadegg came in 3rd rounding out the podium.
For more information on the Intermountain Cup, visit IntermountainCup.com