“My race was just all around really fun.” That is how 17-year-old Natalie Quinn, who won the Elite Women’s Category in the Red Rock Rampage this past weekend, described her race. Quinn who has been racing NICA for a few years and just jumped up to the Elite category is part of the wave of racers coming out of the NICA program and giving the adults a run for their money.
Nicole Tittensor, who took second in the Elite Women’s Category, details how the race played out.
“I like to have fast starts and try to take the lead early. I was able to do this, but with a peak over my shoulder, I saw a new face holding my wheel! It was Natalie. I tried to put some early attacks on her, hoping to break her for the last lap. It backfired on me, and my XC race fitness wasn’t quite what I’d expected it to be and I was the one who faded! She raced smart and strong, and it was really impressive to see for someone her age. I’ll definitely have her on my radar for the upcoming races!”
Taylor Shelden, who races for Tokyo Joe’s, took the top place on the podium followed by Alex Grant in the Elite Men’s race. He recaps, “Right from the start the race was hard and I was always on my toes especially trying to keep up on the downhills. The third lap was pretty hard, but I knew I could put in a big attack on the final lap to help secure the win.”
Grant fills in some more details,
“Our race was a close one with a lot of back and forth with Colorado based rider Taylor Sheldon. He has a background in pro road racing and it showed on the pedaling sections. He was super strong, and I had my hands full trying to stay with him on the climbs but was able to gain a little rest and time back on the descents. Bryson Perry and Brennan Peterson would join us for sections of the course making it a fluctuating group of 2-4 riders at the front. Last lap Taylor really punched it on the climb and got a gap on me, he had maybe 20 seconds going in to the last downhill. I closed it down to 3 seconds by the line, but it was too little too late. I was stoked to finish 2nd and get in a good hard race in the legs to get ready for the season.”
Bryson Perry Took 3rd in their race followed by another 17-year-old, Brennon Peterson.
Full results can be found here.
The Red Rock Rampage is the season opener for the Intermountain Cup Race Series. The Rampage has been on the same course for several years. Due to construction in the area, the course was changed a couple weeks prior. The route maintained as much of the original as possible giving it about 6.5 miles and 850 feet of elevation gain. The one thing that didn’t change was the technical nature of the trails.
Grant said, “The slight changes to the course this year were nice and didn’t change the overall character of the course much.”
Weather for the Red Rock Rampage was just about as perfect as you can ask for. The sky was blue, the temperature was in the 60s and the wind was nothing more than a light breeze.
The overall vibe of the race and venue was super positive. There are a lot of young riders coming out of the NICA Program and the injection of these racers keeps the energy high. Sidney Nielson, who won the Women’s Varsity Category, said “The race atmosphere was great having everyone at the finish line cheering you on to race faster and to be the bet you can be.”
The next race in the I-Cup series is the Cactus Hugger on April 27th in Hurricane, UT. You can register here.