By Shannon Boffeli
Special to Singletrack.com
Endurance mountain bike racing returned once again to Park City, Utah with the Park City Point 2 Point.
Now in it’s second year, the Point 2 Point saw 300 riders registered to take on the 75-mile course over Labor Day weekend. As racers rolled off the line the big names made their way toward the front including Alex Grant (Cannondale Factory Racing), Josh Tostado (Bach Builders-Santa Cruz) and Kelly Magelky (Trek).
These riders know each other well and it showed as a close battle unfolded. Magelky suffered a flat in the early stages of the race. That left Tostado and Grant to resume the fierce battle they waged just a week before at the Breck Epic. The duo put up scorching fast split times well ahead of last year’s pace.
The leaders were never separated by more than a few seconds through the first six hours of the race.
Behind them Magelky soldiered on after fixing his flat. He was never far behind but was couldn’t bridge back up to the leaders. The next group of chasers included Chris Holley (Trek 29er Crew), Gregy Gibson (Truckerco.com), Troy Barry (Hammer Nutrition), and Kevin Day (Kuhl/Specialized).
As the riders approached the final feed station Tostado took the lead as he chose to blow through the final feed. Grant stopped to refuel as he had the year before.
That move may have made the difference. Tostado briefly took the lead but Grant was not to be stopped as he passed the Bach Builder’s rider on the final section of the primarily singletrack racecourse.
In the end it would be Grant taking the win. After 6 hours and 55 minutes of racing the Cannondale rider took the win by just 3 minutes over Tostado. Magelky soloed in for third.
Chris Holley crossed the line in fourth place followed by Gregy Gibson in fifth.
After the finish the Coloradoan Tostado said, “I travel around looking for mountain bike races to do and this is a mountain bike race.”
The women’s event was equally heated as an accomplished group of endurance racing women lined up for the start.
Front Range 50 and Laramie Enduro champion Kelly Boniface (Moots) showed up to contest one of the west’s most challenging endurance races. She would be competing against Heather Holmes (Yeti/Sunflower Market), a member of the ’09 Marathon World’s team.
The women got off to a quick start as Boniface and Holmes immediately moved to the front. At the first feed Boniface was out front but just barely over Holmes. Sarah Kaufmann (Elete/Roaring Mouse), was lurking not far behind with Singlespeed 24-Hour National Champion Lynda Wallenfels (Troupe) making her way through the pack.
The two leaders traded back and forth throughout the event and with less than 10 miles left, the two were separated by less than one minute.
A fearless final descent saw Holmes roll into The Canyons in first. Tears filled her eyes as the Yeti/Sunflower racer cruised up the crowd-lined finishing straight for her first Park City Point 2 Point win.
After the finish Holmes said, “I can really see why people get into this endurance racing. It’s so much more fulfilling at the end.”
Boniface crossed the line just 5 minutes later for an impressive second place. Sarah Kaufmann took third with Wallenfels in fourth and Erica Tingey (Las Vegas Cyclery) in fifth.
The women and men took home equal pay with each winner receiving $1,000 for their efforts.
Park City Point 2 Point: Highlights
• Three of the top-5 riders competed in the week long Breck Epic just eight days before the Point 2 Point. Alex Grant, Josh Tostado, and Gregy Gibson all finished in the top-15 in Breckenridge.
• Evan Plews (EvanPlews.com) missed the start by about 7 minutes after he forgot his timing chip and had to ride back to his condo before the start. Plews passed almost 300 riders on his way to a 7th place in the men’s race.
• Alex Grant broke his course record by over nine minutes. He set the previous fastest time in the inaugural event at 7 hours 4 minutes.
• 16-year-old Keegan Swenson, put in an amazing performance, as he was the only rider capable of hanging with Tostado and Grant for the first two hours of the race. The Park City native and XC National Champion eventually dropped back just before his partner Casey Williams took over at the halfway point. The two 16-year-olds put down a blistering fast time of just 7.19.23 for 75 miles and 14,000 feet of climbing.
• The Park City Point to Point is a 75 mile (ish), 14,000′ (ish) of climbing, but who’s counting, ultra endurance mountain race held on the trails of beautiful Park City, Utah. The course passes through Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons and boast 90% singletrack and unique trails the entire distance.