Ben Bostrom and Shontell Gauthier cruised to victory at the inaugural Mellow Johnny’s 6-Hour mountain bike race. Held on Lance Armstrong’s Juan Pelota Ranch outside of Dripping Springs, Texas, the event was the largest 6-hour turnout in Texas history. Cool morning temperatures greeted riders, but gave way to nearly perfect riding conditions under clear skies.
Utilizing a LeMans style start (on foot) the men got underway with ranch owner and 7-Time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong taking an early lead. He was joined by professional motorcycle racer Ben Bostrom (Sho Air-Specialized) and Yuki Saito (Topeak-Ergon) during the first lap. The trio managed to separate themselves from chasers and came through the start/finish on lap 1 separated by about 5 seconds each.
During lap two Bostrom was able to extend his lead to 30 seconds over the chasing Armstrong, who by then had separated himself from Saito. By the beginning of lap 4 Bostrom’s lead was 2 minutes over Armstrong. When Bostrom rolled through start finish area for the start of lap 5 it was Saito that was in second place, and word came that Armstrong had pulled out with knee issues related to a recent increase in his running mileage.
With Armstrong out, Bostrom kept the cruise control on and turned out 11 steady laps to win during the 6 hours, while behind local rider Tristan Uhl (Austin-Tricyclist) completed 10 laps and finished second. It was an impressive charge in the final laps by who Uhl moved from the fourth and fifth place positions he held much of the day. Yuki Saito finished third. “I got in late last night due to some flight delays so today was the first time I saw the course, but I loved it, the singletrack was a lot like I train on at home (Malibu, Ca) but with less climbing,” commented Bostrom.
In the Women’s Open it was a two-person race between Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/Baci) and Alex Robinette (RGM Advisors) who both fought through physical and mechanical issues throughout the race. Robinette, who started the race suffering from badly bruised ribs from a training crash earlier in the week, took the lead on lap 1 over Gauthier, only suffer a twisted chain on lap 2 that lost her the lead.
Gauthier took over and never relinquished the lead to complete 8 laps, while Robinette was able to repair her chain and ride back into second place finishing 8:16 behind Gauthier. Third place went to Sara Krause (Bicycle Sport Shop). Gauthier told the crowd from the podium the course was rough enough to warrant full suspension bike which she didn’t have, and ibuprofen which she did.
Juan Pelota Ranch will next host the fourth stop of USA Cycling’s 2011 Pro XCT Cross-Country racing series. The event will be held on April 30 and is the second year straight year for the event. The 2010 event hosted over 1100 racers. No date has been set for the 2011 Mellow Johnny’s 6-Hour, but the event will return.
Full results can be found here.