Four locals crack top 10in Leadville |

Four locals crack top 10in Leadville

Tim Mutrie

After 97 miles of racing at ever-changing elevations between 9,000 and almost 13,000 feet, Wienerstube owner Kevin Willson had second place stitched up.A four-minute lead and only three miles to go.Then he got a flat tire and had to watch as second place rode past.Willson, the 2000 champion of the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, managed to hang on to the podium though, finishing in third place Saturday, in 7 hours, 27 minutes, 58 seconds.Three other valley cyclists followed in the top 10, and four more locals cracked the top 20.Pro rider Dave Wiens of Gunnison won the men’s race, finishing just 12 seconds shy of the course record, in 7:05:51. Jacob Rubelt of Flagstaff, Ariz., scooted in about two minutes ahead of the flatted-out Willson, in 7:36:01.”I was bummed. Totally bummed,” Willson, a six-time Leadville 100 starter and four-time finisher, said of the unlucky break. “Only three miles to go …”But it was my best race I’ve done over there, I think. I put no pressure on myself. I felt like I’d never win it again and I just wanted to finish because the last two times I didn’t – because of my back. I’m getting old at 46,” he chuckled.”And that’s how I did it. I went out and had fun. Other times, it’s been much more stressful.”Aspen’s Ted McBlance took fourth-place honors (7:58:55), and Aspen residents Julian Underwood (8:02:02) and Steve Marolt (8:08:36) followed in sixth and ninth, respectively. Kevin Jones of Basalt finished 12th (8:10:31) and Mike Marolt took 18th (8:29:24).”Four locals in the top 10 at a big race like that, that’s pretty good,” said Willson.”It was just a fantastic day. Great conditions, beautiful weather, not too hot, not too cold, and the course was in great shape.”Former U.S. Ski Team racer Katie Monahan of Aspen and Molly Jones of Basalt finished in the top 20 for women, with Monahan 16th (10:54:00) and Jones 17th (11:00:47).As for the men’s winner, Wiens, a former national champion, apparently wasn’t too happy when his course record-breaking attempt fell short.”I heard at the finish line he just got in his truck and drove off,” said Willson. “He was bummed, too, I reckon.”

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