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June 1, 2004

A mountain of a bike race
Iron Horse races to a $1M finish
A mountain of a bike race
By Aaron Unterreiner
Special to the Herald

Surprise, surprise. The winner of Monday's Iron Horse Classic cross country race was not the three-time USA Olympian and World Cup qualifier Travis Brown, it was Eric Jones.

"As I rode through the finish line, they were like, 'Who are you? What's your name,'" Jones joked. "But I was stoked. I was hoping to go Top 5, but I did the road race on Saturday and I really didn't feel that great so I was kind of surprised that I felt so good (Monday)."


Eric Jones races up from Goeglein Gulch Road near the end of Monday's pro cross country race at Horse Gulch Canyon. Jones, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the final race of the Iron Horse weekend in a time of 1:45.38.
After finishing 13th in Saturday's road race, Jones sat out Sunday's criterium in downtown Durango before shocking the field on Memorial Day with the first big win of his nine-year professional career.

"I was able to recover (Sunday) and I was hoping that would help me (Monday)," Jones said. "I guess it did."

Jones, of Salt Lake City, Utah, finished the course in 1 hour, 45 minutes and 38 seconds. Brown, a Durango native, was second with a time of 1:47.33. Jimi Mortenson, of Eagle, was third, and locals Ned Overend and Cody Peterson rounded out the Top 5.

"It was less of a surprise when I realized that he didn't race (Sunday)," Brown said. "When he came around me coming up Cowboy (Trail in Horse Gulch Canyon), we had been riding together, and I saw his peddle stroke was really high rpm and fluid. I was almost sure that he didn't race (Sunday), and I was also sure that I wasn't going to be able to ride with him.

"He was definitely much stronger. I think, actually, the race being late (Sunday), was as much of me being a little bit flat today . . . so there wasn't a lot of recovery time between finishing at 6:30 (Sunday) night and starting (Monday) morning."

Jennifer Smith, of Gunnison, was the top professional female at 1:20.08. Nina Baum, of Albuquerque, and Jennifer Gersbach, of Boulder, finished one-tenth of a second from each other, while Sarah Tescher, of Durango, took fourth.

"This is my fourth time doing (this race)," Baum said. "It was great; it was really good. It was a little loose, but it was better than last year. I was here in the mud, so it was completely different. It was great conditions (Monday)."

"It's one of the most fun cross country courses that I've ever ridden," Brown said. "It'd be a little tough to have a big field on there because it's so tight, but for this size of field, I mean, it's so rare that we get to ride that much sweet singletrack in a race, so I think everyone had a great time.

"It's always good to come back. This weekend is definitely a huge part of what Durango is all about."

Other local winners were Peter Jensen, Paul Cowden, Robin Boucher, David Drake, Andrew Ferguson, Benjamin Kraushaar, Katie McLean, Maggie Casey, Billy Newmyer, Mary Tesitor, Sabrina Kraushaar and Colin Wait.