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Christopher Blevins and Anna Yamauchi dominated the cow trails and hillsides round Bakersfield, California and gained high honours in Rock Cobbler 10.0.
Blevins held off a late cost by final yr’s winner Peter Stetina to file one of the best time throughout the 80-plus-mile route, crossing the end in 4:32:37, 4 seconds forward of Stetina. Lance Haidet completed third for the boys.
Yamauchi was the highest ladies’s finisher and seventeenth total in the primary subject, finishing the journey in 5:18:34. The 22-year-old was 4 minutes forward of Anna Hicks, who was second within the ladies’s division and nineteenth total. Final yr’s surprising champion at Huge Sugar Gravel, Paige Onweller, crossed the end line somewhat a couple of hour later and claimed third.
The principle occasion of the tenth version of Rock Cobbler featured a gruelling 80-plus-mile (128km) route that topped out at 6,500 toes (2,000 metres) of elevation acquire. This yr’s multi-surface skirmish, which many riders described as “miles of shenanigans,” offered a mixture of dust roads, paved connections, cow trails, gully-washed basins, and super-steep climbs throughout the San Joaquin Valley of south-central California. A complete of 530 riders accomplished the Cobbler this yr, and mixed with the shorter Pebble route, registrations eclipsed the 1,000 rider mark for the primary time, a rise of 73%.
The highest males’s professionals led the primary of 4 waves of begin teams this yr, which included Stetina, final yr’s runner-up John Borstelmann and Blevins, who was fourth. A mountain bike world champion in brief observe cross-country, Blevins was at residence on a course with loads of single observe, a lot of it worn down as cattle paths on extreme off-cambered, slippery terrain.
Midway by means of the journey, Blevins surged throughout a sloppy part of the path, and Stetina watched him sail away as he needed to cope with chain points from the mud after which stopped at an assist station to re-lube and fill a bottle. It was from that time Blevins took a two-minute lead which Stetina tried to claw again.
“It was like a one-on-one time trial for 2 and half hours. I started to chase and introduced him again to 3 seconds by the top,” Stetina summed up in regards to the second half of the journey.
“The top was excruciating as a result of the final 10 miles are on pavement, and I used to be 30 seconds behind. And he might see me, and I might see him, so it was actually a pursuit. So, it was excruciating since you simply get to inside 5 seconds of him, and he is simply dangling there.”
One of many favourites, Borstelmann, suffered a crash round mile 10 and selected a “joyride” as he completed a couple of hour and half-hour again in 91st total. He informed Cyclingnews he was wonderful after the crash, however his bike didn’t escape accidents.
“My derailleur was fairly wonky, stopping me from successfully utilizing 4 of my climbing gears. I struggled to keep up sight of the leaders for the following 20 miles or so earlier than getting caught within the mud and deciding to journey it in at my very own tempo, having fun with the wild course for what it must be: extra of a joyride than a race,” the 32-year-old admitted, saying it was a good time, simply not a aggressive race for him.
“The cumulative results of a heavy coaching load with no correct taper, mixed with a debilitating bout of pollen allergic reactions the previous couple of days, stored my kind from being as sharp because it wanted to be to maintain up with the leaders anyway. I finished and spent 10-Quarter-hour cleansing the mud out of my bike and re-tuning my derailleur, and stopped once more at each following assist station to refuel, chat up the volunteers, and take part in ‘shenanigans’.”
Main the second wave of starters for girls was Yamauchi, who, like Blevins, is an completed mountain bike rider and has a pair of silver medals from US Nationals in cross-country and downhill. On the Grasshopper sequence Low Hole opener in January, Yamauchi was the closest rider to ladies’s chief and 2018 MTB World Champion Kate Courtney however went astray and was disqualified for not correcting the error earlier than the end.
This time, Yamauchi completed a powerful journey on the Cobbler and improved from her third-place end final yr to the highest step for the ladies. She was adopted on the rostrum by her Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo teammate, Hicks, who was a silver medalist within the highway race eventually yr’s USA Biking Collegiate Highway Nationals.
The 2022, or 9.0 version, gained a splash of fame for a bull that charged a number of opponents. This yr there have been no offended bulls, however there have been shut encounters with ranch animals and views of buffalo and coyotes, holding the Cobbler fairly distinctive.
“We’re on this ravine and got here throughout a peloton of practically 30 cattle, moms and their calves. As a result of it’s a ravine, that they had nowhere to go, so we mainly herded them up this mountain move, form of like a strolling tempo. A number of riders obtained shoulder checked, however nothing actually harmful. That’s the Rock Cobbler – it’s run-ups, it’s cattle, it’s shenanigans,” Stetina laughed.
“So Cobbler is fingers down my favourite gravel course. It’s completely wild and random and sporadic, and all the time partaking. It is particular as a result of it isn’t in regards to the race towards different folks. It is in regards to the course. There’s all the time one thing to do, whether or not it is a beer chug contest in the course of the race, driving by means of somebody’s home, or going up the steep stroll up a mountainside. It is all the time an journey to finish it, which is tremendous distinctive.”
|Pos.||Rider Identify (Nation) Workforce||Outcome|
|1||Anna Yamauchi (Specialised-ClifBar)||5:18:34|
|3||Paige Onweller (Trek Driftless-ABUS-HED-WTB)||0:21:25|
|4||Sarah Flamm (Planet Earth)||0:28:53|
|6||Leeann Folse (K_HL Biking Workforce)||0:42:49|
|8||Paige Helpful (Severe Biking)||0:59:21|
|9||Claire Reinert (Gravelstoke)||1:18:17|
|10||Isabella Heinemann (Cal Poly Biking)||1:27:25|
|Pos.||Rider Identify (Nation) Workforce||Outcome|
|1||Christopher Blevins (Specialised Manufacturing facility Racing)||4:32:37|
|2||Peter Stetina (bull by the horns)||0:00:04|
|3||Lance Haidet (L39ION of Los Angeles)||0:11:24|
|5||Ian Loopez de San Roman (Mazda Lauf Manufacturing facility Sportful)||0:15:27|
|6||Sam Coyle (Cal Poly SLO)||0:30:43|
|7||Dylan Pollard (Cal Poly Biking)||0:30:47|
|9||Julien Bourdevaire (Experience Bike Bro)||0:30:48|
|10||Brent Franze (Workforce Dream Workforce-Fullerton Bicycles)||0:51:48|