Young Blood Infuses The Inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road
Young Cyclists Make a Huge Impression on the Future of Mountain Biking
(Grand Junction, CO) September 1, 2013 –
Grand Junction’s Main Street was abuzz early Sunday morning with talk of the 41 pro riders, 18 women and 23 men, that were about to battle it out for the $20,000 cash purse. The inaugural event posed an uncharted challenge for the pro riders. Welcomed cloud cover kept the morning cool as riders pushed their limits across the challenging 40 Grand course. The field was close with Ben Sonntag (Cannondale, Shimano, American Interbanc) and Sepp Kuss (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Specialized, SRAM) leading the pack for a large portion and battling it out for most of the event, while Pua Mata (Cannondale, Sho-Air), Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers, Scott, Momentum Endurance), and Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes, Trek, Clif) went neck-in-neck for the Women’s Endurance XC win. In the end Ben Sonntag came roaring across the finish line in just over 3 hours with 18 year old Sepp Kuss hot on his heels just over a minute later. Pua Mata was able to pull away and take the win for the Women’s category with a finishing time of 3 hours and 36 minutes and Erin Huck hightailing it in for second place with a time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Click here for complete results in both the Men’s and Women’s pro categories.
The Scotts Sports Pro Awards ceremony was overwhelmed with talent on Sunday afternoon as the top five riders from the Men’s and Women’s Pro Endurance XC event took the podium. Presented with a technical and challenging 40 mile course, the pro riders made the inaugural race one for the books. Cheered on by spectators, friends, family, and peers the Women’s and Men’s Pro categories were handed their larger than life checks as they took center stage on the podiums in celebration of their perseverance. The top five men included (in order of place) Ben Sonntag (Cannondale, Shimano, American Interbanc), Sepp Kuss (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Specialized, SRAM), Kris Sneddon (Kona), Carl Decker (Giant, SRAM, Swalbe), and Chris Baddick (The Gear Movement, Point6, Kali Protectives). Pua Mata (Cannondale, Sho-Air), Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes, Trek, Clif), Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers, Scott, Momentum Endurance), Amy Dombroski (Ed’s Trees, Mosaic, Pro Peloton), and Amanda Carey (Stan’s NoTubes, Kenda, Cannondale) stepped proudly ascended the Women’s podiums.
Eighteen year old Sepp Kuss (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Specialized, SRAM) of Durango, Colorado brought on the heat during the 40 Grand Pro Endurance XC event on Sunday morning. The young prodigy gave the seasoned field of pro riders a run for their money right off the start line. Going toe-to-toe with Ben Sonntag (Cannondale, Shimano, American Interbanc) and Kris Sneddon (Kona) towards the final miles of the course, Sepp pulled towards the front and came in second to winner Ben Sonntag by just over a minute.
Future mountain bike riders and stewards of all ages congregated at the Grand Junction Off-Road on Sunday morning with their parents in tow. The Shimano Youth Series Kids Race offered a chance for kids and their parents to take to the streets of Grand Junction in a 3 Grand or 1 Grand (1 Grand = 1 mile) bike ride that benefited the Colorado Riverfront Commission family and children’s initiatives. Young cyclists from the community and beyond showed up riding mountain bikes, cruisers, trikes, and push bikes and were rewarded for their tenacity with Shimano Youth Series medals along with more swag than they could possibly hold.
Click here to learn more about the Shimano Youth Series Kids Ride.
Photos: Devon Balet Photo