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NORBA National Championships - CN
Mammoth Mountain, California, USA , September 23-26, 2004
Race 1 - Thursday, September 23: Marathon
Marathon kicks off USA Cycling mountain bike national championships
Dave Wiens and Gretchen Reeves win marathon crowns
By USA Cycling
The inaugural USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships got underway this morning at Mammoth Mountain Resort. Dave Wiens (Gunnison, Colo.) and Gretchen Reeves (Augusta, Ga.) claimed the first victories under the new one-day national championship format in today's marathon.
It was a beautiful day for racing, as blue skies and cool mountain air sent racers out for three laps of the 21.8 mile circuit. The tough course saw riders climb 6,204 feet and reach a maximum elevation of 9,165 feet. A field of 42 battled it out for the stars and stripes jerseys that were awarded to winners in the men's and women's open categories as well as men 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50+, and women 19-29 and 40+. Several notable names lined up for the start, including the legendary Tinker Juarez (Downey, Calif.), 2004 NORBA National Marathon Series winner Dave Wiens, and two-time winner on the NORBA National marathon circuit this summer - Charlie Storm (Carey, N.C.).
Jimi Mortenson (Eagle, Colo.), Charlie Storm, Jay Henry (Avon, Colo.), Tinker Juarez, and Dave Wiens made up the early lead group, completing the first 21.8 miles in 1 hour, 23 minutes. Gretchen Reeves took an immediate lead in the open women's race and formed a one minute gap over her nearest threat - Melissa Thomas (Boulder, Colo.).
By the end of lap two, the lead group had decreased to three with Dave Wiens, Jay Henry, and Charlie Storm setting the pace at the front. Juarez and Mortenson were not far behind as the racers went in for the final lap. Reeves picked up the pace in lap two and increased her distance from Thomas to three minutes.
As the riders made their way down the homestretch, the crowd received word that Wiens had broken off the front and formed a 45 second gap over Storm. Juarez and Mortenson both passed Henry as they attempted to bridge up to the leaders. Wiens was able to hang on for the win, despite strong efforts by his competition. Following the new national champion was silver medalist Charlie Storm. Three-time NORBA Series Champion and two-time Olympian Tinker Juarez secured third, followed by Mortenson in fourth. Michael Janelle (Avon, Colo.) spent the final lap working his way up in the field, and earned the final podium spot this afternoon.
Gretchen Reeves did not relinquish her lead for the entire race, earning the stars and stripes jersey ahead of today's silver medalist Melissa Thomas - who was fourth in the NORBA National marathon series this year. 2004 NORBA National marathon series winner Monique Sawicki (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) followed in third, while Shannon Gibson (El Paso, Texas) and Cristina Begy earned fourth and fifth respectively.
National championship action continues tomorrow, starting with the U23 Cross-Country race in the morning, followed by the Semi-Pro/Jr X cross-country contest and the mountain cross national category championships for beginners, sports and experts. The pro men's and women's cross-country showdowns will then close out the afternoon's racing.
Open Men 1 Dave Wiens 2 Charlie Storm 3 Tinker Juarez 4 Jimi Mortenson 5 Michael Janelle Open Women 1 Gretchen Reeves 2 Melissa Thomas 3 Monique Sawicki 4 Shannon Gibson 5 Cristina Begy