With a few weeks until the next two rounds of the XCO UCI World Cup mountain bike series, the domestic scene has kept U.S.-based riders busy. Last week was the Missoula UCI weekend in Montana, and this past weekend, riders were in Nevada for the Carson City Off-Road Capital 50.
The Carson City Off-Road was the third stop of the four-race Epic Rides Off-Road series. We previously covered the last stop in Colorado at the Grand Junction Off-Road in part because of the number of familiar names who are racing the events this year.
The Epic Rides Off-Road series is different from the lap-based XCO races. The main mountain bike race is called a “backcountry race,” which describes the format well. The course is one loop of about 50 miles that usually features a good amount of climbing, technical singletrack and fire roads. In true U.S. racing form, there are also amateur races for both shorter and full distances during the weekend.
The Carson City Capital 50 course was no different, with riders climbing west toward Lake Tahoe and then descending back to Carson City for the finish.
Each Epic Rides Off-Road weekend also includes a Friday night dirt criterium that helps determine starting spots on Sunday. With the UCI World Cups adding a short track race to determine the first two starting rows this year, the series does have something in common with the premier XCO series in the world.
The standout star of the weekend was Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis). Woodruff won the dirt criterium ahead of two riders who know short races well in teammate Sofia Gomez Villafane (Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) and Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team).
Woodruff took the top spot again in the backcountry race on Sunday, adding a win to her second-place finish at the series opener. Nash won the previous race in Grand Junction but added another second-place finish to her 2018 tally in Carson City. Evelyn Dong (Spry Cycles) finished third to round out the podium. Belgian Waffle Ride winner Larissa Connors (Sho-Air) finished 4th, Crystal Anthony (Liv Cycling) 5th and Hannah Finchamp (Clif Pro Team) 10th.
Today's #capital50 was all about big climbs, big views, and then a big stupid crash for me in the final 30 minutes of racing. I recovered, and then got schooled on some wide open fire road descents by @katkanash, but just had a bit more left in the tank for the final bits of pedaling to the finish. A highlight of the day was the police escort into downtown Carson City. Huge thanks to @stansnotubes, @pivotcycles and especially to our support crew for the weekend, @notubesmaster, @rosekgrant, and @jer_alix! It takes a team and I'm lucky to have found such a good crew. #stanspivot #onlystans #pivotcycles #maxxistires #rideshimano #ndmedjooldates #carsoncityoffroad #ussnevada
In the Men’s dirt criterium, the riders with cyclocross experience led the way. Tristan Uhl (Giant Co-Factory) won in front of Fernando Riveros—whom we saw race the US Cup-CX series last year—and Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis-Shimano).
The mountain bike heavy hitters dominated Sunday’s backcountry race. Ben Sonntag (Team Clif Bar) got the win, topping Keegan Swenson (Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) and Howard Grotts (Specialized). Swenson won the Whiskey Off-Road and Grotts the Grand Junction race, so the series is now split 1-1-1 between the three.
Kabush shook off his post-Dirty-Kanza-200 hangover to finish seventh. We have not heard if he ran aero bars or not.
Full results for the Women’s and Men’s Carson City Off-Road are below.
Women's Results: 2018 Carson City Off-Road
|21||9||Sparky Moir Sears||4:57:48|
Men's Results: 2018 Carson City Off-Road
|10||7||Richard Cypress Gorry||3:42:24|