Aspen’s Boucher leads expert men after the first day of BME Finals
The first day of the Big Mountain Enduro Finals in Aspen finished with the men’s and women’s pro frontrunners on top, as well as an Aspen local leading the expert division.
Two-time Enduro World Series champion Richie Rude, who entered with a 15-point lead over Marco Osborne in the overall men’s pro standings, had the best time in each of the two stages on Saturday. Rude finished Stage 1 on Aspen Mountain in 13 minutes, 24.92 seconds, and won Stage 2 on Sunnyside Trail in 9:20.96.
Rude’s two-stage time of 22:45.88 gives him a 46.02-second edge over second-placed Shawn Neer, a Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team teammate, and a cushion of 1:06.30 over third-placed Osborne.
In the women’s pro open division, which only has eight riders, Cooper Ott also won both of the stages with a combined time of 26:54.34. Ott, who now calls Crested Butte home, had a virtually insurmountable 230-point lead over Lia Westermann in the season-long standings entering the weekend. Westermann finished Saturday in second place among the pro women, 26.53 seconds behind Ott.
In the expert men’s open, a new division placed between the pros and amateurs, Aspen’s own Whit Boucher finished the day with the best overall time of 25:37.63. Boucher had the third best time on Stage 1 and the second best time on Stage 2 to take the overall lead into the final day of the competition.
Basalt’s Rafaelo Infante is sitting in second with a time of 25:38.95, highlighted by winning Stage 2 on Sunnyside. Another Aspenite, Matt Boughton, is third, only 1.89 seconds behind Boucher. Boughton won Stage 1 on Aspen Mountain before taking fourth on Sunnyside.
Aspen’s Patrick Lynch is currently 11th in the men’s expert division, a full minute behind Boucher, while Aspen’s Victor Major is well back in 37th after a costly second stage. Carbondale’s Brian Smith is 13th after two stages, 1:20.15 behind Boucher.
In the men’s 17-20 division, Aspen’s Tate Dubilier is currently ninth with a two-stage time of 25:32.90. He is 1:13.28 behind division leader Talus Lantz of Nederland.
The Big Mountain Enduro Final wraps up Sunday with the final three stages in Snowmass Village. Stage 3 (Animal Crackers into Two Creeks) is scheduled to get underway at 8:15 a.m. Stage 4 (Sam’s Knob into West Government Trail) gets going around 10:30 a.m. and Stage 5 (Bonzai DH) starts around 1:30 p.m. On each stage, the groms will go first and the pros last.
The finish line for the Bonzai DH, as well as the scheduled 5 p.m. awards ceremony, is near the BME sponsor village at Snowmass Base Village. Spectating is free, although a lift pass is required to access many of the trails without hiking.
Full results can be found at http://www.bigmountainenduro.com.
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.