Leipheimer and Truckee’s Julie Young claim Tahoe Trail 100 titles
Since 2011 the CenturyLink Tahoe Trail MTB has been one of the area’s premier mountain bike races, attracting some of the top riders in the sport in a bid to qualify for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB later in the year.
One of America’s top road cyclists, Levi Leipheimer, captured first place in the 100-kilometer distance, outpacing the field on the ski area trails, mountain roads, and single track near Northstar California Resort to finish with a time of 3 hours, 58 minutes, 13 seconds.
“There are only a few events I consider to be ‘must do’ and the Tahoe Trail 100 at beautiful (Northstar California Resort) is one of them,” posted Leipheimer to his social media pages before the race.
Leipheimer’s win makes it three straight years elite road cyclists have taken the overall victory. Peter Stetina (4:05:23) won last year’s race, and Leipheimer (3:59:58) won the year before.
Jamey Yanik, of Boise, Idaho, finished runner-up for the second straight year with a time of 3:58:50. Former Brazilian road cyclist Stefano Barberi was third with a time of 4:14:51. Truckee’s Troy Deibert was the top local, finishing with a time of 4:37:57 for 13th overall and second in the men’s 40-49 division.
Local woman captures title
No woman came close to catching Truckee’s Julie Young, who outpaced the nearest competitor by more than 24 minutes to capture this year’s women’s title with a time of 5:10:06.
Young, who won the race in 2011 and was third last year, returned to the top of the podium for the second time in her eight years of competing, and said moving to a single-speed bike was the difference in capturing the win this year.
“(It) makes you turn the pedals over, and by virtue of that I think you get fast speeds, fast times,” said Young. “The bike’s lighter and the focus changes because, literally, all you’re thinking about is just turning the pedals over.”
Dana Kuper, of San Francisco, was second with a time of 5:34:23. Truckee’s Sian Crespo was third with a time of 5:41:03.
“I’m just super appreciative of the event company and Northstar for putting this on,” said Young. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s a great course, and a great way to spend a day with your friends and enjoy the Sierra.”
This year’s course featured a few alterations from years past, as more than 300 riders set off Saturday morning to compete in the 100-kilometer distance.
“We changed it a little bit,” said Northstar California Senior Director of Skier Services Andy Buckley on this year’s layout. “We added some single track into the thing, made it a little longer, and people loved it.”
The race served as a qualifier for the Leadville Trail 100 on Aug. 11. Those who qualified previously or picked up a lottery entry, donated their qualifying coins to other riders in the crowd, resulting in tears of joy from many of the participants.
Cyclists can still qualify for Leadville at either the Leadville Stage Rae on July 27-29 in Colorado or at the Barn Burner in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Sept. 8.
Shields gives local women a sweep
The day’s events also featured a 50-kilometer distance, which was won on the women’s side by Truckee’s Samantha Shields, giving local women a sweep of the 50- and 100-kilometer races.
Shields time of 2:44:13 was good enough for 15th overall and was more than 12 minutes faster than second place, Truckee’s Debbie Hakansson (2:56:40), whose time was good enough for first place out of the 60-69-year-old division. Krista Strecker, of Truckee, gave local women three athletes in the top four, with a time of 3:01:55. Truckee’s Annie Rutledge (3:09:33), and Annie Rosenfeld (3:15:10) also cracked the top 10.
On the men’s side, Justin Pfaffinger, of Grass Valley, captured the overall win with a time of 2:22:50.
For full results visit TahoeTrailMTB.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.