An Off-Road adventure
GJ man, Fruita woman win GJ Off-Road 30-mile races
The two winners in the 30-mile Grand Junction Off-Road were actually multiple winners.
Grand Junction’s Robb Parsons sported a winning smile Saturday after turning the course into his own personal playground.
The women’s 30-mile winner wasn’t even thinking about racing until she won a raffle.
“I wasn’t even planning on racing at first,” said Kristina Kittelson of Fruita.
She decided to jump into the race after finding a water bottle on the trail last week. It was part of an Epic Rides competition, and it gave Kittelson free entry into the race.
But then things got even better. Finding the water bottle also entered her into a raffle for a free mountain bike, which she won.
“I thought, ‘Well I guess I have to race now,’ ” she said, smiling.
Kittelson won the women’s race with a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds, beating Grand Junction’s Sara Landis, who finished in 3:32:39. Jen Taylor Muhr of Grand Junction was third in 3:42:35.
Obviously, Kittelson was happy with the results, but she still was slightly disappointed in narrowly missing her goal.
“My goal was three hours. That’s a little frustrating (coming so close to three hours),” she said.
For Parsons, the 30-mile race was a refreshing change from the 40-mile race he did last year. The Grand Junction rider said he’s better at the downhills and technical sections, so he decided to do the shorter race this year.
It’s not like he wasn’t a contender last year after finishing fifth in the 40-mile race. For Parsons, it’s just more appealing to race 30 instead of 40 miles.
“I think it’s just a more fun mountain bike course,” he said. “I’m not a great climber, and I like the technical stuff, and I haven’t been training as much this year.”
All those factors influenced the 33-year-old to take on the 30-mile course.
Looking fresh and energetic as the first guy across the finish line in 2:28:28, his smile told the story.
“I thought this one was a lot more fun. I didn’t cramp, my legs are still working, I have a smile on my face, I’m not puking. It’s all the difference in the world,” he said, laughing.
The 30-mile course has less climbing than the 40-mile course, so the physical demands are far less.
Todd Shaffer of Colorado Springs was second (2:35:06) and Grand Junction’s Stephen Stern was third (2:38:05).
Now that Kittelson claimed the Grand Junction Off-Road title, she knows the expectations have just multiplied.
“I don’t really race, so I thought I’d just do the 30 this year,” she said, “I have to step up now, I can’t sandbag. Once you do well in a race, you have to move up. I’ve already gotten a hard time from my friends for not doing the 40.”
Although Kittelson is already looking ahead to jumping up to the 40-mile race, Parsons seems to be happy to stay right where he is at with the 30-mile course.