Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ned Overend and Mitch Moreman crest Molas Pass  Posted by Hello

Carter, Kingsley soar to victory in Iron Horse road race

Carter, Kingsley soar to victory in Iron Horse road race
By Marc Witkes
This report filed May 29, 2005

Michael Carter and Karen Kingsley won the 34th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic road race on Saturday, a Colorado monument with 5500 feet of climbing over its 47-mile course between Durango and Silverton.

The 42-year-old Carter (Colorado Velo) emerged triumphant from a three-man battle with Mitch Moreman and the apparently immortal Ned Overend, who were racing for the new Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory team.

As Carter assaulted the 10,660-foot Coal Bank Hill, Moreman and Overend struggled to hold the pace. Carter reached the summit first, shot down the wicked descent, climbed alone up 10,900-foot Molas Pass and roared down into Silverton and victory in two hours, 18 minutes and six seconds.

"This win has been a long time coming," said the Littleton, Colorado, resident, who started racing here in 1983.

The 25-year-old Moreman - who was 10 years old when he watched his Durango neighbor Overend win the world mountain bike championship at Purgatory in 1991 - edged his 48-year-old teammate for the runner-up spot.

"It's awesome to be here today," Moreman said. "It's always been a dream of mine to race bikes, and it is just so cool to be able to come in the finish near Ned."

Overend, who has raced the Iron Horse 24 times and won it more than once, said he knew he was in for a rough ride when Carter punched it on Coal Bank.

"I just didn't have it today while going up Coal Bank," Overend said. "I knew I was in trouble."

Still, Overend clearly enjoyed himself.

"I really enjoy racing bikes and it's such a great sport," Overend said. "It's just part of my lifestyle. But it is such a serious commitment to get in shape for this thing each year."

Women sprint into Silverton

In the women's race, Kingsley, Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) and Ann Trombley (Excel Sports), reached the summit of Molas Pass together, but Vanlandingham was first to the south end of Silverton.

Then Kingsley - who was trailing by 150 yards at the bottom of the winding descent - put the hammer down and beat Vanlandingham in an exciting sprint, crossing in 2:40:30. Trombley crossed third, 23 seconds later.

"I knew she (Kingsley) was closing on me at the finish," said Vanlandingham, a pro mountain biker who planned to race in Monday's cross-country. "She's so strong."

The 30-year-old Kingsley, from Ophir, Colorado, once raced with Geneviève Jeanson's now-defunct RONA squad, but now spends her days building furniture.

"I'm a climber," Kingsley said. "I used to race for RONA, but now I don't train much. I just do a lot of backcountry skiing in the winter, and that is such a good workout. I just race for the fun of it now."

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
Durango-Silverton, CO. May 28
1. Michael Carter, Colorado Velo, 2:18:06.8
2. Mitch Moreman, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 2:18:25.0
3. Ned Overend, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 2:18:25.6
4. Cody Peterson, 3D Racing-SRAM, 2:18:52.6
5. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, 2:18:53.6

1. Karen Kingsley, 2:40:30.7
2. Shonny Vanlandingham, Luna, 2:40:31.0
3. Ann Trombley, Excel Sports, 2:40:53
4. Jennifer Smith, Tokyo Joe's-Golite, 2:42:25.2
5. Mara Abbott, Whitman College, 2:43:35.3

Complete race results can be found at

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kristin McGrath for the University of Tennessee Posted by Hello

McGrath looks for next athletic challenge

Kristin McGrath, former Durango High School soccer and swimming standout, has a mantra.

"Go big or go home."

McGrath, 22, used those words throughout four years of athletic success at DHS from 1998-2001.

With a Southwestern League title in soccer during her freshman year and a fifth-place finish at the state swimming meet in the 100-meter breast stroke during her junior year, it would appear that McGrath was on the right track.

Besides her obvious athletic prowess, McGrath was also busy during her senior year in 2001 taking classes at Pueblo Community College so she could get a head start on her studies at the University of Tennessee.

After playing Division I soccer for four years at Tennessee and swimming her junior and senior years, McGrath, an exercise science major, is ready for more challenges and adventure.

Following last week's graduation with summa cum laude honors, McGrath is preparing for an internship with the prestigious Carmichael Training System in Colorado Springs.

"It's an intensive program and they teach you how to become a coach," said McGrath.

Besides working with Carmichael Training this summer, McGrath is hoping to begin a quest to become a professional triathlete.

So, while she will be learning how to coach others, McGrath will also be coaching herself with a heavy dose of swimming, biking and running.

It won't be an easy road. McGrath dislocated her knee during a soccer practice last October.

"I tore my ACL, partially tore my PCL and tore my LCL," McGrath explained. "I'm only able to run every other day right now because I'm still recovering from my injury."

Current DHS men's varsity basketball coach and McGrath's former soccer coach, Tim Fitzpatrick, is betting that McGrath will go far in whatever she chooses for her future.

"Kristin's desire to be the best in whatever she is doing and her work ethic is incredible," Fitzpatrick said. "Even as a high school freshman, she had a great understanding of fitness and the necessary training."

George Philpot, DHS swim coach for 10 years, has known Kristin since she was a girl.

"She's a tenacious young lady," Philpot said. "Kristin is very dedicated and if anybody can become a professional triathlete, she can."

All work and no play might make Jill a dull girl but McGrath has had her share of fun as well.

Last month she went with friends to watch the Tour of Georgia.

"We had an awesome time," McGrath said. "I saw Lance Armstrong and Tom Danielson."

Besides doing a little spectating, McGrath has done her share of cycling in the Smoky Mountains near school.

"Well, there's this 50-mile ride that we do sometimes," McGrath explained.

The climbs and the mountains in Tennessee don't really compare to Coal Bank and Molas, but hopefully they will be enough preparation for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in two weeks.

It will be easy to spot McGrath, who will be in town to ride to Silverton and visit with her parents Bob and Scattie: She'll be riding a lime green Cannondale.

"Of course her mother and I are quite proud of her," Bob said.

"She doesn't like anybody in front of her but in a nice way."

Marc Witkes is president of Durango Motorless Transit. Reach him at 247-3116.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Trailrunning the Four Corners

From Sand Canyon to Squaw Peak, Kaibab to Kokapelli, Alien Run to Animas City Mountain, the Four Corners is doodled with trails that inspire runners to leave hot, hard asphalt for the cool and softness of terra firma. Trailrunners are challenged to find a better area to enjoy their fast-growing sport. Indeed, trail running has never been more popular. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, trail running participation has grown by 16.4 percent over the past five years. In 2003 alone, more than six million people ages 6 and over ran on trails at least once. That’s a lot of shoe rubber.

In 13 years of running and traveling the Four Corners for races and training runs, I am convinced that trail running just doesn’t get any better than our backyard. With topography ranging from desert to mountain and geography from tundra to slickrock, living in the Four Corners means that we are never far from a perfect trail run.


PINNING DOWN THE BEST trails to run in the Four Corners is an impossible exercise. The countless miles of trails are as diverse as the people who run on them. With diversity in mind, here is a sampling of a good few, most of which I’ve had the pleasure of running.



"Start out slow and taper" is the ultra-runner’s signature line but the same can be applied to trail running. If you’ve run only on the roads, running trails will take a little getting used to. Pay attention to the terrain so you won’t trip over obstacles such as a rock or a root. "Power-hike," or hike powerfully rather than run, the steep uphill sections. Cross-train with a road or mountain bicycle to build strong quads, which are essential for running uphill. Pay attention to your form by eliminating any extra movement with your arms. Relax! Go a little farther or a little faster each time you hit the trails. Set a reasonable goal for yourself so that you’ll stay motivated to train. How about completing a Double Hogsback or a sub-four hour Imogene by the end of the summer?

To gain strength and power, run fast but short — 1/4- to 1/2-mile — uphill legs, resting during jogs downhill, and repeat. On a track, include interval sprint-and-jog sessions. Warm-up and cool-down to decrease injury risk. — M.W.

The Durango Mountain Park is less than a mile west of downtown Durango. The rolling trails include the dramatic Hogsback, which is obvious from its name. Even the fittest runner’s legs will be reduced to Jell-O climbing the Hog. Be careful on the way down, especially in the summer, when the trail is dry, dusty and slippery. There are many access points but my favorite is on the western edge of Avenida del Sol, just north of the 9th Avenue Bridge.

Joe Keck, former mayor of Cortez, frequents Sand Canyon, 14 miles southwest of Cortez on McElmo Creek Road. "The area has pinion, juniper and red rocks along its trails," he says, noting the area is all BLM.

It is possible to run 468 miles of the Colorado Trail from Durango but several shorter options are available. Take 25th Street to Junction Street to access the trail’s Durango terminus. A good eight-mile run with spectacular views of Durango is out-and-back to Gudy’s Rest, a good push out but a downhill coast on the return. Other good Colorado Trail access points include Lightener Creek, Kennebec Pass and Molas Pass.


My wife Cathy Tibbetts has been running Farmington gems Pi`F1ion Mesa and the Kinsey Trail for 20 years. "With Pi`F1ion Mesa, you can run a 12-mile loop or an 18-miler but it might be a good idea to go with someone who is familiar with the area. It’s easy to lose your way in this maze but the rock formations are dramatic. I’ve named two of them, ‘Ugly’ and ‘Nasty,’ because of the steep terrain that reduces most runners to a quad-busting power hike."

The Kinsey trailhead, part of the Glade Trail System, is located at the north end of Foothills Drive. "I can run this one all year as it’s almost always dry," she says.


Ian Torrence, a Grand Slam finisher (four 100-mile trail races in the same summer) shares his favorite Moab trail runs. "Gemini Bridges starts on 191 north of Moab and it’s about a 16-mile run, out and back ... It is 4 x 4 roads rather than trails, but a beautiful area."

Other Torrence favorites are Steel Bender/Flat Pass, Behind-the-Rocks, Pritchett Arch, Hunter Canyon Loop and unnamed trails near the golf course.

Durango trail runners John McAward and Brett Gosney make frequent trips to the Joint Trail in Canyonlands National Park. "The terrain is varied," McAward said. "There are streams, sand, ladders, rocks and meadows."

"The Joint Trail is a narrow seam that is part of a larger 22-mile loop," adds Gosney. "The trails are well-marked and you can get a map from the National Park Service."


In Prescott, Charlie Schultzof the Arizona Road Racers likes the Peavine Trail and Groom Creek Loop Trail, a short distance from town. "The Peavine Trail was opened in early 1999," Schultz said. "It is a trail that has been developed over the old Peavine Railroad right-of-way that is historically significant to Prescott and the surrounding areas `85 On a clear day you can see the San Francisco Peaks, the Santa Maria Mountains, south into the Bradshaws and across to the Mazatzals and Pine Mountain from Groom Creek."

Flagstaff’s Matthew Holton, a member and coach with the Northern Arizona Trailrunners Association, shares a favorite run. "My favorite run is up to Fisher Point where there is a lookout that is probably 6 miles south of downtown Flagstaff." Fisher Point overlooks a dramatic slot canyon in one direction and the San Francisco Peaks in the other. "I also like running on top of Mars Hill," Holton adds, "where the Lowell Observatory is located."

There is only one way to properly see the Grand Canyon. Yes, run it. Take the park service shuttle from the main lodge to the Kaibab trailhead on the South Rim and run down to the Colorado River and back up the Bright Angel Trail for a total of 14 miles. It’s a steep pull back up but nothing a little "power hiking" can’t manage. In "younger" days I reveled in going from the South Rim to the North Rim and back in one day, all in about 14 hours. Now I prefer to run from the South Rim with a change of clothes and stay in the Grand Canyon Lodge North rim — and run back the next day.


THE FOLLOWING RACES range in size from under 50 runners to several hundred. They also offer a variety of distances, places and terrain, from ultramarathons (more than 26.2 miles) to short distances. You may recognize some of the races but I hope that there are some that are new to you.


The Soulstice Mountain Run (June 18) in Flagstaff was first held in 1997, organized by local race director Bill Ring. Only 34 runners ran the challenging 11 1/2-mile course that includes two 800-feet-plus ascents, but in 2003 and 2004, the race reached its cap of 200.

Neil Weintraub, a veteran of more than 100 races, claims the Soulstice as his favorite. "There are incredible views of the San Francisco Peaks during the second half of the race," he explains, "and the golden aspens mixed with the tall ponderosas add to the beauty."

The Big Tesuque (October 8), an 11.6-mile trail run, draws about 100 runners to Santa Fe. "It’s in the fall, just between the aspens at the height of their color and the start of snow," said Santa Fe Striders running club president, Kris Kern. "We’ve had snow a few times, but the last few years the colors have been brilliant. We donate part of the race proceeds to Wing of America, a Native American youth running program.

The Arizona White Mountain Marathon, Half and 5K fun run and walk (August 27) takes place on the TRACKS trail system within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Show Lo. In 2002, when the massive forest fires hit the forests near Show Lo, participation was a disaster. But last year, the event came back strong with around 60 runners.

In 2004, nearly 350 people participated in the Sacred Mountain 10K/5K Prayer Run (June 5) and 2K fun run/walk near Flagstaff. Dorothy Gishie, program coordinator for Native Americans for Community Action, Inc., and one of the race coordinators, expects 500 runners for this year. "The course weaves through unpaved dirt and cinder trails within the Coconino National Forest, Gishie said. " The San Francisco Peaks, mountains held sacred by Native Peoples, provide a scenic background. The course climbs to an elevation of 7,200 feet from a start/finish of 6,950 feet."

Ouray resident and former Hardrock 100 race winner, Rick Trujillo, trained on Imogene Pass in 1974, and the next year, the Imogene Pass Run (Sept. 10) became an official race. Today, 1,200 walkers and runners make the trek from Ouray to Telluride through historic Tomboy and Camp Bird.

The Lake City 50-Mile (June 18), now in its 11th running, is among the toughest events in the United States. "There is over 12,500-feet of climb and descent all above 8,600’ and lots of it above timberline," said Race Director Jerry Gray. "The course is a counter-clockwise loop starting in the town park on Engineer Pass Road, over Alpine Gulch, into Williams Creek, up Wagner Gulch and into the Carson town site.

Vic Rudolph, Durango speedster, ran Lake City last year. "It was the hardest race I have done so far," Rudolph said. "It was a fabulous event; beautiful country, great support and weather. I would recommend it to anyone."

The Spring Desert Ultra three-day running festival in Fruita (April 22-24,) has 50-, 25-, 10- and 5-mile events. The courses are rocky, dry, and challenging but the scenery is otherworldly. Reid Delman, festival organizer, says that people are often taken by surprise with the race’s difficulty. "The elevation ranges from only 4,600 to 5,400 feet but there is actually 4,000-feet of climb for each 25-mile loop," he said.

My friend, Greg, poked fun at me last year and called me "grandma!" as I picked through the difficult terrain. I had the last laugh when he became dehydrated during the last few miles of the race and I skipped by him on the flat section.


La Luz Trail Run (Aug. 7), featured in the March/April 2005 issue, is Albuquerque’s premier running event. This annual event is limited to 400 runners. The race may be filled this year but be prepared for next year by tapping


Moab’s Alpine to Slickrock 50-mile (September 24) is set in the La Sal Mountains and, according to one of its veteran racers, Ian Torrence, has an "awesome single track." This race begins with a 4,000-foot climb from Pack Creek.


ALL RUNNING CLUBS, like their runners, go through peaks and valleys. Farmington and Cortez, for example, have both had strong running clubs but neither exist today. If you have an interest in joining a running club or finding out about the clubs in your area, drop by your local sporting goods store and ask around or hit the internet and search. Or, better yet, go running and sooner or later you’ll encounter other runners. It’s that easy — for the most part trail runners are easy-going folks.


Durango Motorless Transit (DMT) is the Four Corners largest running club. DMT sponsors low-key group trail runs every Thursday night at 6 p.m. DMT also organizes many area trail races. See or call me at (970) 247-3116. I am its president.

"The Crested Butte Mountain Runners have been around for about 25 years and we organize a series of fun runs throughout the summer, starting in mid-May and ending in late September," said Martin Catmur, who organizes the


Flagstaff is home to the Northern Arizona Trailrunners. NATRA has two weekly runs, one on Monday and another on Saturday. The Monday run is a 4.5-mile loop that starts from Buffalo Park and heads up toward Elden. The run on Saturday varies.


Albuquerque Road Runners (ARR), part of the Road Runners Clubs of America, does a weekly trail run in the foothills on Monday evenings starting from the parking lot at the east end of Indian School Road. "There is an extensive network of trails along the base of the Sandia Mountains that runs from I-40 north for about 10 miles or more," said Roxanne Miler, ARR president. "These trails also connect to the crest trail and trails on the east side of the mountains so that you can do a relatively tame workout with small hills or you can go for a 3,000 foot climb."

"The Santa Fe Striders have weekly group training runs that are usually on trails," said president Kris Kern. "This is such a great place for that and the higher trails can get to several peaks above 12,000-feet in as little as six miles of running.


The Rimrock Roadrunners, part of the Road Runners Clubs of America, is a small organization in Moab which puts on the Moab Half-Marathon, Winter Sun 10K and other races.

Marc Witkes grew up running with the Central Massachussetts Striders. He has competed in hundreds of events around the country and claims a win of the Ignacio Cabin Fever Fest in the early ’90s. Having just completed the Arizona Ironman, Witkes is hoping for a little down time but he fears that his wife will convince him to pace her for 50 miles during the Leadville Trail 100-mile.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Marc and Cathy at start of Ironman Arizona Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Local riders go for broke in time trials

It's the stuff that legends are made of:

Ned Overend, former world champion, once bicycled 9.5 miles from the corner of Roosa Avenue and U.S. Highway 160 to the power lines on top of Hesperus Hill in 28 minutes and 45 seconds.

Tom Danielson, recent Tour de Georgia winner, rode 5.8 miles from Cascade Village to the top of Coal Bank Pass in 24 minutes and 4 seconds.

These are two records from the Durango Wheel Club's Thursday night time trials, but most of the 19 people who competed in last week's Baker's Bridge event weren't concerned with trying to break any records.

Time trials are simple, painful, elegant exercise. Bicycle racers hammer on a predetermined course against the clock and against the other riders. Most are tucked in an aerodynamic position with the help of special handlebars from the start. Less upright body mass translates into less wind resistance and faster times.

There is no drafting (following closely behind another cyclist and using him to break the wind) here. Riders begin at 30-second intervals and race by themselves.

If the person riding behind you catches you, that puts you 30 seconds down. Racers are timed across a finish line, and allowances are made for all of the different starting times.

Jared Pitroski, a 22 year-old Fort Lewis College student who races on the collegiate team, milled around before last Thursday's time trial start just north of the Iron Horse on U.S. Highway 550. It was Pitroski's first time trial of the year, and he figured it would be good preparation for a summer of racing.

Around 5:45 p.m., Todd Beattie, ride organizer, called the racers together.

"Who wants to go first?" Beattie asked.

Linda Paris, 42, volunteered to be the sacrificial lamb chased by the hungry wolves.

"Five… four… three… two… one...," chanted timing volunteer and long-time Durango Wheel Club member Ken Freudenberg, and Paris was off for 17.5 miles of pain and fun.

Thursday's "P" shaped course took riders north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, to County Road 250, across Baker's Bridge and south on East Animas Road to a finish on the west side of Trimble Lane near the railroad tracks.

Last year Cody Peterson set a blazing record of 37 minutes and 33 seconds on this course.

Todd Wells, 2004 mountain bike Olympian, has already raced 30 days this year. He was getting tuned up for World Cup races in Belgium and the summer's NORBA races.

With a swirling wind that made riders always feel like they were always battling a headwind, competitors continued to take off at 30-second intervals.

Wells took the penultimate position with Gilbert chasing from the final spot. Traditionally the faster riders are the last ones off.

I had it easy and drove with Beattie along the course. We offered encouragement and a little applause, although not many riders acknowledged our presence. This was serious stuff and most riders had a look of pain on their faces.

While riding behind Mitch Moreman on East Animas, Beattie clocked him at 36 mph.

"This is great training, and we have everyone here from casual riders to professionals," Beattie said. "It's good practice for racing because you have people chasing you and everybody is a little nervous."

For more information on the time trials, call Beattie at 946-1993 or go to