Grewal going for another Revenge win, not another record |

Grewal going for another Revenge win, not another record

Jason Starr

MONTEZUMA – Montezuma’s Revenge is a good mix of suffering and gamesmanship. Both are ongoing this morning on the ridgelines and in the ravines around Montezuma.

Both of last year’s winners – men’s champ Rishi Grewal and women’s champ Michelle Grainger – are on-course today trying to defend their titles in the grueling 24-hour mountain bike event.

Grewal, who set the course record with his win last year, seemed confident at the start Friday afternoon. As a two-time champion, he’s developed a gameplan that works for him.

“The strategy is to go extremely steady effort-wise, especially on the steep terrain,” Grewal said. “Then I’ll develop a strategy as the race progresses, as I see what’s happening.

“I’ll let the event take shape,” he continued. “I’ll see who’s where, see how I’m feeling and try to judge the pace I’ll maintain.”

He listed Nat Ross and Cullen Barker as his main rivals in the event, which tops out at 14,270-foot Grays Peak and in which the best riders will travel 200 miles and gain 30,000 feet in combined elevation.

Grewal got out to an early lead during the short beginning loops of the race, which took the riders through the center of town four times in the first hour. But his early speed could have been part of a ploy.

“I have a slight advantage if I (start) out fast,” he said before the start, “because I can get people to chase me, and they won’t be in control. But anything can happen. You have to make sure that as the race progresses you don’t make mistakes.”

Grewal, who lives in Carbondale, said he’s not gunning for another course record. He’d just like to be in first when the final gun sounds at 4 p.m. today.

Defending women’s champ Grainger has more modest aspirations. Last year she focused all her training on Montezuma’s Revenge, and her constant riding in the area paid off in a win. This year the Boulder resident is concentrating on 100-mile races and just decided to enter the Revenge last week.

“I don’t come here just for the win,” she said. “I come here because this town is the best place to come and race. They throw a party. Winning is a bonus … surviving is what I’m hoping for.”

This will be her fourth consecutive start at the Revenge. She was second twice, before winning last year. Even though she wasn’t thinking about the race until last week, her experience should help.

“I know the ropes,” she said. “I know what to expect. You don’t forget what you’ve gone through in the past.”

Grainger will have to contend with the largest women’s field in the Revenge’s history: nine. But course record holder Monique Merrill of Breckenridge is not in the lineup because she’s preparing for Sunday’s terra at Keystone.

The combined men’s and women’s field of 39 is also the largest in event history.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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