Herman overcomes fall, Dixon hail to win Power of Four mountain bike races
Power of Four MTB results
1. Thomas Herman, 3:48:11.01
2. Allen Krughoff, 3:56:40.86
3. Jason Michalak, 4:00:03.71
4. Levi Gavette, 4:03:24.48
5. Max Taam, 4:13:42.04
1. Marlee Dixon, 4:39:53.41
2. Jennifer Smith, 4:58:36.02
3. Nicole Tittensor, 5:01:12.04
4. Betsy Welch, 5:32:38.64
5. Caroline Tory, 5:35:09.41
Power of Two MTB results
1. Gregory Strokes, 1:50:39.52
2. Wheeler Feer, 2:00:48.38
1. Megan Barney, 2:58:24.95
2. Adrienne Kina, 3:23:59.36
Thomas Herman didn’t need long Saturday to build a sizable lead in the Audi Power of Four mountain bike race. Which was good, because the Lakewood rider needed that early advantage after getting a little overzealous in Snowmass.
“On the first descent I just kind of got a little rowdy. Got a little airtime on one of the jumps. The front end got a little heavy,” Herman said after the race. “The next thing I know I’m on the ground. But it wasn’t too bad. Scraped up, but really quickly hopped back on and tried to stay focused the whole time.”
Herman, 32, had no trouble overcoming the early speed bump, as he went on to win the race by more than eight minutes over Boulder pro Allen Krughoff. Herman, a product engineer for Boa Technology, finished the roughly 36-mile course in 3 hours, 48 minutes, 11.01 seconds, which is a course record as this was the first year this particular route was used. Slightly longer than in past years, the 2018 Power of Four included some of the Snowmass Bike Park’s newest trails. The eighth annual race took competitors from Snowmass to Aspen via the four area ski mountains, where they vied for a piece of the $2,500 purse.
Herman’s early fall certainly stayed on his mind the remainder of his race. He had heard the story of Aspen’s John Gaston, last year’s winner, who crashed on his final descent coming down Aspen Mountain but still managed to finish the race before checking himself into the hospital where he discovered he had four broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Gaston did not compete this year.
“On the final descent, I was like, be careful, don’t do what that guy did,” Herman said. “Obviously I’m a decent climber, but there are some guys who can gap me off on climbs. They really weren’t here today.”
Krughoff finished the race in 3:56:40.86, while Crested Butte’s Jason Michalak was third in 4:00:03.71. Carbondale teen Levi Gavette, last year’s Power of Two race winner, was fourth in 4:03:24.48 and Aspen’s Max Taam fifth in 4:13:42.04.
“I’ve been doing long races, so figured I might as well do it. Power of Two seems short at some point,” said Gavette, a Colorado Rocky Mountain School graduate who will attend Vermont’s Middlebury College in the fall. “I lost it a little on Midnight Mine and started cramping. Almost couldn’t pedal over the top. Both legs fully seized up. But we got through that. That’s what we’re here for, right?”
The top 10 finishers or so were the lucky ones, as soon after a brief but intense storm blew through the Aspen area. Fairplay’s Marlee Dixon was the first woman to cross the finish in the Power of Four race, and she had to fight through a “memorable” bout of hail over the final stretch to the finish at the base of Aspen Mountain.
“I couldn’t see anything and it was hitting you. It hurt,” Dixon said. “It definitely slowed down the finish a little bit, but it makes for an epic race.”
Dixon, 36, finished 12th overall with a time of 4:39:53.41. Jennifer Smith was second among women in 4:58:36.02 and Nicole Tittensor third in 5:01:12.04. This was Dixon’s first Power of Four win in four tries. She finished second among women last year, losing by about three and a half minutes to Avon’s Gretchen Reeves.
“I was battling with Gretchen for a while and then the same thing with Jenny,” Dixon said. “Then the last hill climb I put some time on her. I didn’t see her at the top, so I knew just keep the tires down and have a clean descent down this.”
On top of the Power of Four, there was a Power of Two race Saturday that only included Snowmass and Buttermilk. The roughly 20-mile race was won by Aspen’s Gregory Strokes in 1:50:39.52, while Megan Barney took the women’s title in 2:58:24.95.
Complete results can be found at http://www.racerite.com.
The Power of Four continues Sunday with the 50K, 25K and 10K trail runs, which all finish in Snowmass Village. The 50K run is the final piece of the second annual Triple Crown, which recognizes the top athletes to have completed all three Power of Four races, including the winter’s ski mountaineering race.
Race organizer Brendan Collins said earlier this week he only anticipates about a dozen people will compete in both the bike race and trail run this weekend.
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