Saturday, July 25, 2009

Galena Grinder/ Whit Henry Memorial Marathon: Galena Lodge, Idaho

Galena Grinder/ Whit Henry Memorial

Located 20-miles north of Sun Valley, Idaho the rustic Galena Lodge plays host each year to the Galena Grinder. The Grinder offers up 22-miles of grueling mountain bike terrain per lap. Cross country riders do one lap while the marathon riders tackle 2 full laps of the course.

Veteran racer John Gould describes the course like this; “It’s one of those events where it seems like you’re climbing a lot more than you’re going downhill.”

The Grinder has every type of climb you can imagine, short steep leg zappers, long tempo climbs, hike-a-bikes, you name it the Grinder climbs it. Connecting those climbs is a series of fast, challenging singletrack descents Not the child-proof singletrack you see at many endurance events but tight, loose, rock-strewn bomber downhills where one wrong move can have you peeling yourself off a tree or rock. As long-time Race Director Mark Driver put at the prerace meeting “ This is a mountain bike race. There are rocks, logs, creek crossings, and other stuff you should expect at a mountain bike race. Deal with it.”

The marathon started at 9 AM as the sun crested over the mountains. The field of 62 racers prepared for 4-plus hours of riding. From the start Idaho local Tracy Anderson hammered off the line as the other riders preferred a more subdued start assuming Anderson would surely pay for his cross country like antics.

Anderson was followed by Richard Feldman (Durance), who rode a mountain bike outfitted with drop bars ala John Tomac circa 1991, all that was missing was the Tioga rear disc wheel. Feldman crushed the group on the doubletrack climbs. Next came Park City rider Nate Miller who seemed to float effortlessly up the climbs and used his descending skills to quickly overtake Feldman.

Tracy Anderson rolls to the finish after a record day

After one lap it became clear Tracy Anderson was not slowing down and while Miller kept him in sight he could never quite close the gap. The two matched each other for over 40 miles well in front of the chasers. Anderson stayed on the gas for the full 44 miles breaking the course record with a time of 3.47.25. Miller came home in second just over 3 minutes behind the leader.

At the end of the first lap Feldman’s struggles on the descents dropped him back to 8th place just behind rider Shannon Boffeli. The two traded spots through the start/finish but once the climbing started Feldman was back on the attack. Almost immediately he moved through the field working his way up to 3rd by the top of the aptly named Horse Fly Hill, the highpoint of the course.

This time he relinquished little time on the descent pushing the pace to stay in front of 4th place rider Matt Luhn who had ridden strong in the top-5 all day. By the finish Feldman crossed the line 51 seconds clear of Luhn with Boffeli crossing the line in 5th.
In the women’s race Jenny Tobin opened up a commanding lead on the first of two laps and never looked back. When the riders came through the start/finish after lap one she held a ten minute lead over second place India Wysong. These two paced themselves well maintaining virtually the same gap throughout the second lap with Tobin crossing the line in first with a time of 4.47.02 and Wysong taking second at 4.58.03.

Jenny Tobin leaves for lap two

Park City racer Lara Kendall finished third ahead of Cameron Randolph and Janelle Connors.

Race Notes

Riders enjoying the post race meal at Galena Lodge

After the finish, all riders were treated to a meal including homemade chili, pasta, cornbread, blueberry colber, chocolate chip cookies, and a staple of Idaho mountain bike racing free beer.


Overall Men

1, Tracy Anderson 3.47.25
2, Nate Miller 3.50.40
3, Richard Feldman 4.00.03
4, Matt Luhn 4.00.54
5, Shannon Boffeli 4.02.09
6, Brian Taylor
7, Chris Peters
8, Todd Smith
9, Andrew Genco
10, Reed Melton
11, James Brighten
12, Jon Gould
13, Thom Morton
14, Paul Schiffman
15, Sean Donovan

Overall Women

1, Jenny Tobin 4.47.02
2, India Wysong 4.58.03
3, Lara Kendall 5.08.39
4, Cameron Randolph
5, Janelle Conners