Sutton survives, wins final downhill in series |

Sutton survives, wins final downhill in series

KEYSTONE – In the final downhill race in the Mountain States Cup series Monday, Ryan Sutton of Gunnison swore he didn’t do anything spectacular.

He didn’t need to.

At the finish line, Sutton held his side, wheezing, and waited to see if his time of 8 minutes, 10 seconds would be good enough to win the event. Moments later, after pro series leader Ross Milan came down a 26 seconds slower, Sutton broke into a sly grin.

“I really tried to save my energy when I needed it most,” Sutton said. “There’s definitely a lot of people out here that can throw down and beat me.”

Sutton, who won the race but still finished second in the series points standings to Milan, benefitted from a bike that held together. Milan crossed with a flat tire. Chris Del Bosco of Vail placed second, but lost his derailer half way down and was stuck on the toughest gear. Even the semi-pro series leader, Dan Weinman of Taos, N.M, busted his derailer.

Boulder’s Matt Fisher took the semi-pro division and echoed Sutton’s comments on the key to success. Fisher biked an 8:32.

“It’s basically an eight and a half minute sprint,” Fisher said. “Basically, it was a smooth, clean run. Nothing spectacular.”

Breckenridge’s Willy Warren placed fourth in the semi-pros.

The pro women, however, put together the most exciting race of the day. Idaho Springs’ Jennifer Whalen beat Lisa Myklak of Boulder by 0.07 seconds to take the women’s crown.

“I did crash,” Whalen said. “I clipped a tree and it put me off the seat. It took a few seconds to get going.”

Arvada’s Tim Sharp put up the best early time of the day and won the junior expert division. The 16-year-old ran a 9:00 and watched as his competitors suffered the same casualties as Milan.

One rider shredded his tire and rode his wheel through the race. As announcer Jeff Westcott put it, it looked like crumpled tin foil at the finish.

Jack Hannan of Crested Butte busted his derailer and coasted the last part of the course to the finish.

“There were times when I had to jump off and carry it,” Hannan said.

Hannan returned to his mangled bike periodically to kick it out of frustration.

The event, the final competition in the Snake River Fat Tire Festival, featured the best downhill competitors in the region. The race, the ninth in the Mountain States Cup, was the longest in the series.

For complete race results and series standings, check out

Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext .257, or at


Local results

Snake River Defender Downhill


Sport Women

Place Name Time

4. Ellen Temby 12:55.50

Expert Women

1. Julie Larsen 10:50.87

Junior Men 13-14

1. Grant Savidge 10:36.34

4. Spencer Thomas 11:35.06

8. Zach Herwehe 13:02.70

Beginner Men 19-24

1. Mike Duckworth 9:30.44

Beginner Men 25-29

3. Eric Berggren 11:15.67

5. Matt Mazzaccaro 10:56.13

Sport Men 30-34

5. Andrew Anderson 10:51.49

Expert Men 19-24

10. Steve Saletnik 9:56.87

19. Zach Barr 11:17.74

Expert Men 30-34

20. Rob Ferola 10:42.96

Expert Men 35-39

4. Chris Cawley 9:45.82

Semi-pro Men

4. Willy Warren 8:42.67

9. Todd Olsen 9:01.76

13. Paul McNeil 9:24.77

Pro Men

7. Troy Heflin 8:56.58

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