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Rishi without rival at Revenge

Jason Starr

MONTEZUMA – There was no revenge on Rishi this year.

Rishi Grewal completed his title defense Sunday at the Montezuma’s Revenge 24-hour mountain bike race, the only competitor to make it to the 11th loop. His 142 miles in just under 24 hours did not break his own course record, but it was more than enough to hold off his closest challenger, Dawes Wilson, who finished second about five miles back.

“I didn’t get my record, but I think, had I been pushed a little bit, I would have gotten well into loop 11,” Grewal said.

Instead, Grewal, a Carbondale resident, fulfilled his stated pre-race goal of expending the least amount of effort while still winning the race. It’s only mid-season for mountain bikers, after all.

The women’s winner was also a repeat champion, though not back-to-back like Grewal. Alma’s Colleen Ihnken got her second Revenge win in five tries, finishing 123 miles from Saturday to Sunday afternoon. With the largest women’s field in event history, and a strong one at that, Ihnken was “flabbergasted” to win.

“I decided to do it this week, and the field was strong, so I’m pretty astounded,” she said.

After struggling through the first 12 hours, Ihnken said her pace quickened when the sun rose Sunday morning. She passed Nancy Busching – who finished second with 118 miles – coming off Grays Peak early Sunday and never looked back.

“Usually I do it just for fun,” Ihnken said. “This year I thought I’d try to be a little more competitive.”

Another racer completely surprised by his result was Frisco’s Mark Thompson. In his first attempt at the Revenge, Thompson finished third behind Grewal and Wilson.

He kept pace with Wilson and watched as Jon Brown fell from second to fifth in the final hours of the race.

“I expected to be completely trashed (physically),” said Thompson as he gingerly dismounted his bike, found a seat and wrapped himself in down. “My result was totally unexpected. I felt really strong going up Loveland Pass, and the Grays loop went much better than I expected.”

Each loop has at least one checkpoint, where riders can see who’s ahead of them and by how much.

“(Wilson) was right in front of me,” Thompson said. “I kind of tried to keep him in mind as a measure, because I know he’s a phenomenal rider, and I was surprised to be as close to him as I was.”

Cindy Burkart took third in the women’s race, just seconds behind Busching.

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


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