"More than 800 off-road racers gathered on a picturesque July 4th day to compete for one of a dozen stars-and-stripes jerseys awarded at the 50-mile marathon distance at the Firecracker 50. Last year’s national championship runner-up in Olympic-style cross country, Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va.) came away with the overall victory after completing the marathon event in less than four hours. In the women’s pro/open category a relative newcomer to the mountain bike scene, Sari Anderson (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) took home her first USA Cycling National Championship, besting a packed women’s field.Via www.usacycling.org.
With numerous riders forced out of the competition, including several pre-race favorites, the story of the day was the slew of flats and mechanicals that riddled the dry, rocky course. From the start, Evan Plews (Salem, Ore.) soared to the front of a talented pack of riders on the first of the two, 25-mile laps. After riding conservatively out front for the majority of the contest, Plews suffered an untimely flat with Bishop on his heels on the final steep descent. Riding the flat through the closing kilometers, Plews was also passed by a surging Mike McCalla (Santa Fe, N.M.) who earned the second spot in a true race of attrition.
The women’s pro race was led out by a four-pack of some of the nation’s strongest off-road riders. Pua Sawicki (Maliani, Hawaii), took off out of the gate to lead Jenny Smith (Gunnison, Colo.), Gretchen Reeves (Edwards, Colo.) and Anderson who rode together in front for the majority of the first lap. An experienced adventure racer, Anderson was able to get around Reeves and sneak away on a steep climb and never looked back. The first woman to cross the line, Anderson recorded a time of 4:29:12 as two-time national champion Reeves took the silver more than five minutes later. Jennifer Gersbach (Avon, Colo.) used a late-race surge to take third.
1. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va.) 3:49:37
2. Michael McCalla (Santa Fe, N.M.) 3:50:47
3. Evan Plews (Salem, Ore.) 3:51:03
1. Sari Anderson (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) 4:29:12
2. Gretchen Reeves (Boulder, Colo.) 4:34:13
3. Jennifer Gersbach (Avon, Colo.) 4:36:52"
Racer Jeff Kerkove also has posted his race report.