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By VeloNews Interactive
Although race promoters Trilife Sports, Inc., recently ended its affiliation with NORBA — thus losing its status as a 24 Hour NORBA national championship — racing went on as planned at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin solo national championships, held at Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, California, over the May 17-18 weekend. In the end, it was two familiar winners from 2002, Tinker Juarez and Louise Kobin, that ended up atop the podium.
Riding for the Siemens-Cannondale mountain-bike team, cross-country veteran Juarez successfully defended his 24 Hours of Adrenalin solo national title, completing 262.5 miles of off-road riding in 23:57:54, nearly 30 minutes ahead of Sycip’s Jon Brown.
For Juarez, the competition came from an unexpected source. What started out as a rivalry between Juarez and three-time World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin champion Chris Eatough — with Eatough passing Juarez on the descents, and Juarez reclaiming time on the climbs — ended shortly before midnight in the noon-to-noon race, when Eatough pulled out due to sciatic nerve pain.
“Chris was my main guy to focus on,” said Juarez. “I just tried to always figure out where he was.”
Instead, it was Brown who held Juarez in check. Brown, a relative newcomer to the sport of endurance mountain-bike racing, simply rode his own race.
“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.”
For the women’s race, defending champion Nancy Busching sat out the race due to pregnancy. In her place, last year’s open solo category winner Louise Kobin took top honors, turning in 17 laps in 24:07:05. Kobin’s closest competition came from former 24 Hour solo national champion Cristina Begy, who matched Kobin lap for lap until a bitter night of high winds and cold temperatures took its toll. Begy completed 16 laps, in 23:03:42.
“I never really knew I had it until the end, maybe the last two laps,” said Kobin, who came from behind after Begy held an early lead.
Earlier this year, Trilife ended its affiliation with NORBA amid frustrations related to a scheduling conflict over May 17-18 that saw the first round of NORBA nationals take place in Big Bear, California, just six hours from the Monterey location hosting the 24 Hours event.
The 2003 24 Hour NORBA national championships will be hosted instead by Round and Round sports management, held May 24-25 in Spokane, Washington. Neither Juarez nor Kobin have confirmed an appearance, although Subaru-Gary Fisher’s Nat Ross — fourth at Laguna Seca — will be attending.
1. Tinker Juarez, Siemens-Cannondale, 21 laps in 23:57:54
2. Jon Brown, Sycip, 21 laps in 24:25:36
3. Chad Swanson, S&M
4. Nat Ross, Subaru-Gary Fisher
5. Phil Busching, SoBe-Cannondale
1. Louise Kobin, unattached, 17 laps in 24:07:05
2. Cristina Begy, Spot, 16 laps in 23:03:42
3. Barbara Kreisle,
4. Timari Pruis
5. Emily Dirksen