Tinker Wins Third 24 Hour Title|
24 Hours of Adrenalin
Friday, May 23, 2003
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 18, 2003) What started out as a game of leapfrog between three-time World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ Champion, Chris Eatough, and two-time 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ National Champion, Tinker Juarez, finished in a strategy race between Juarez and second-place finisher, Jon Brown. Eatough's finely-tuned bike handling skills-forged from the technical riding near his Baltimore home-launched him ahead of Juarez on descents while Juarez's familiarity with California's short, steep climbs pushed him ahead on climbs. Both racers entered the weekend to win the National Champion's title but for race fans, the pros volleyed the lead like a match at Wimbledon and competition was thrilling.
"Chris was my main guy to focus on-I just tried to always figure out where he was," said Juarez. Eatough's efficiency in the pit area may have nudged him ahead of Juarez but Juarez was quick to match Eatough's pit protocol and keep pace with him. Sleepy spectators looking for an excuse to turn in for the night were unfortunately granted their wish when Eatough withdrew from the race shortly before midnight. Pains shooting through his right leg became too much to bear and Eatough arrived at his decision to withdraw after weighing future races against his present bill of health.
Sunday ushered in a cloudless, sunny day and a new contender for the 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ National Champion's jersey, Jon Brown, had pedaled into second place. A relative newcomer to the sport of endurance mt. bike racing, Brown lost no time strategizing how to tackle a 24-hour race as a soloist.
"Any 24-hour event you enter is going to be mind over matter," said Brown. "You just kind of turn your brain off and pedal."
By 11:59 a.m. on Sunday morning, both Juarez and Brown counted nearly 21 laps on the 12.5-mile 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ Nationals loop at Laguna Seca but it was two-time National Champion, Juarez, who crossed the Finish line with a time of 23:57:54. Brown completed his final lap with a total time of 24:25:36.
The women's solo race saw former National Champion, Cristina Begy, take the lead early in the race and then pass it off to last year's Laguna Seca 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ Women's Solo winner, Louise Kobin. The win almost came as a surprise to Kobin who matched laps with Begy throughout the race.
"I never really knew I had it until the end, maybe the last two laps," said Kobin who took the title with 17 laps in 24:07:05. After a punishing night of high winds and cold temperatures, a somewhat bushed Begy completed 16 laps in 23:03:42.
Local women's cycling club, the Velo Bellas, entered three teams this weekend with only one competing at the National level. Team Bellas Haulin Ass earned bragging rights as the new 24 Hours of Adrenalin™ National Champions in the women's four-person category and each member took home a Champion's jersey to add to her snazzy wardrobe of Velo Bella gear. Team Bellas Haulin Ass completed 22 laps in 24:36:53.