Ahlman rocks in first Montezuma Revenge | SummitDaily.com

Ahlman rocks in first Montezuma Revenge

MONTEZUMA – As the rain pounded down on Mike Ahlman’s helmet late Saturday afternoon, he barely thought twice about heading out to Loop 9.

“I guess it’s what I’ve got to do,” he said with tired eyes and a beleaguered voice. A half-hour later the race ended, and Ahlman had ridden his way to a top-15 finish in his first ever Montezuma’s Revenge. He covered over 125 miles and over 21,000 vertical feet of climbing.

Before last spring, Ahlman, who lives in Summit Cove with local racer Luke Mason, had never even thought of entering a bike race, much less the Revenge.

“He could’ve started sport (class), but I talked him into riding the expert class,” Mason said of Ahlman’s early season efforts. Later, Ahlman finished third in the 12-Hours of Keystone.

“I figured that was a decent pre-race as far as a mountain bike endurance race (goes),” Ahlman said.

So he decided to go big, choosing to ride in what many consider the toughest mountain bike race in America.

Before the Friday’s start, he detailed his preparation.

“I’ve been doing a lot of long rides both road and mountain, 140 to 150 miles. I’ve been really strengthening myself for climbing more than anything,” Ahlman said. “I’ve got a strong support crew.”

Before the race, he sat next to his bike and surrounded by no less than a half-dozen friends intent on helping him through this weekend’s big event.

“I’ve got pretty much at least one person with me from night on, keeping me mentally together,” he added.

And all that rain hardly dampened his spirits.

“I’m sore. But I achieved what I wanted to do,” Ahlman said after the finish with a lazy smile. “I will probably do it again next year.”

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at rchittick@summitdaily.com.

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