Pua Mata and Colin Cares won the appropriately named Firecracker 50 on the Fourth of July in Breckenridge, Colorado.
For Mata, the 54-mile race followed only a matter of days after her top-10 finish at the mountain bike marathon world championships in Italy.
The win is Mata’s second in USA Cycling’s inaugural four-round Pro Ultra Endurance Tour. The Firecracker 50 is the second race in the series, which Mata leads after winning the Spa City 6 Hour in March.
Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) admitted she wasn’t feeling in peak form after her long travels back to the States from Italy combined with the thin air around Breckenridge and the nearly 10,000 feet of climbing in the race. Mata finished in 4:29:58, a time that would have seen her finish in the top fifteen of the men’s division. She was followed by Jenny Smith and Kelly Boniface.
“I actually didn’t feel really good out there,” Mata said. “I think the wear and tear of the trip and preparation for World’s caught up with me, plus the elevation up here is really high. I’m just really happy to get another win. Jenny and the girls rode really strong…”
Team Kenda racer, Cares took care of the men’s division. The Boulder, Colorado-based racer let roadie Peter Stetina drive the first part of the race. Then it was Cares and Kelly Magelky who took over the pace making. Jay Henry allowed things to unfold, however, as he was able to pass eventual third-place finisher Magelky and take second place about 90 seconds behind Cares.
The next race in the Pro UET is the Galena Grinder on July 23 in Idaho followed by the Hampshire 100 in Greenfield, New Hampshire on Aug. 21.