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By Erik Hultgren
Scott Moninger (Health Net-Maxxis) won the annual Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hillclimb on Saturday.
Run under warm temperatures and sunny skies, the 28-mile race – which starts at 7540 feet in Idaho Springs and climbs to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans – was a far cry from last year’s cold and stormy conditions.
But that doesn mean Moninger’s win came easily. Team TIAA-CREF went on the attack early, sending national champ Ian MacGregor up the road. A chase group containing Moninger, former world mountain bike champion Ned Overend (Specialized), Boulder racer Burke Swindlehurst (Team Seasilver), and Arizona climbing specialist Drew Miller (Landis-Trek-VW) raised the pace dramatically, reeling MacGregor in and leaving the rest of the field behind.
Moninger and Miller attacked above treeline to distance themselves from Overend and Swindlehurst, before Moninger then dropped Miller to solo in for his victory in 1:52:50, well off Tom Danielson’s 2004 record of 1:41:20. Miller crossed for second at 12 seconds back with Swindlehurst third at 1:48.
“We made a big effort to drop Burke and Ned, and Drew and I just kept trading pulls,” recounted Moninger. “I could tell Drew was having a hard time staying on my wheel when I was on the front, so I was confident I could win the race. Drew and I have gone to the line before, and nine times out of 10 I’ll win the sprint, so I think Drew was content to ride in for second.”
The race is a memorial for Bob Cook, a talented Colorado bike racer who died of cancer in 1981 at age 23. Moninger’s victory ties him with Cook and Mike Engleman for the most wins, and he says the hillclimb is one of his favorites.
“This race is special to me, and I think it defines Colorado bike racing,” he said.
In the women’s Cat. 1-2 race, Mara Abbott (Sports Garage) soloed in for the victory, crossing in 2:20:10. Tammy Jacques was second at 1:29 with Marisa Aspland third at 3:47.
Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hillclimb
Idaho Springs, CO. July 23
1. Scott Moninger, Health Net-Maxxis,1:52:50
2. Drew Miller, Landis-Trek-VW, at 0:12
3. Burke Swindlehurst, Seasilver, at 1:48
4. Ned Overend, Specialized, at 1:50
5. Jason Donald, RMCEF, at 4:41
6. Mitch Moreman, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, at 5:39
7. Jonathan Baker, Pro Peloton Racing, same time
8. Scott Nydam, Sports Garage-SOMA, s.t.
9. Ian MacGregor, TIAA-CREF-5280 Magazine, at 6:05
10. Paul Esposti, Haul’n Ass Race Team, at 6:41
1. Mara Abbott, Sports Garage 2:20:10
2. Tammy Jacques, at 1:29
3. Marisa Aspland, at 3:47
4. Christy Kopasz, at 4:25
5. Jennifer Gersbach, at 7:52
6. Carla Flores, Southern Mortgage Racing, at 9:05
7. Lisa Matlock, Tamarack, at 10:14
8. Jennifer Martin, Southern Mortgage Racing, at 12:45
9. Maatje Benassi, Excel Sports, at 16:13
10. Jilayne Lovejoy, Excel Sports, at 16:58