MISSOULA — Every year, an elite mountain biking race, the Missoula Pro XCT, comes through Missoula, as some of the best mountain bikers in the country take part in a four-part race.
The UCI women’s and men’s elite races began Thursday with the longest of the four legs of the race, the Marathon or XCM.
The men’s race took off first around 9:20 a.m. After one lap, Ryan Standish from the Summit National Team was leading the pack with a first lap time of 55 minutes, 30 seconds.
But Utah Cycling’s Keegan Swenson was right on his tail and took over first after a blazing second lap of 54 minutes, 47 seconds, two minutes faster than the next racer.
In the end, Swenson held the lead and won Day 1 with a final time of 2 hours, 45 minutes, 44.82 seconds.
“It’s great. I think the marathon day, obviously, it’s the longest day. I think it’s kind of time to get the most time possible throughout the GC,” Swenson said. “The big thing is just take time to recover. You know, get food in, hydrate. So stretch a little bit. All the recovery stuff.”
On the women’s side, it was a smaller pack of 21 racers.
Chloe Woodruff was coming off a recent win on the short track in Europe and she looked good early, but the pack was tight with four girls at the top after one lap.
On the second lap, Woodruff fell back a little with the third-best lap time, but on the final lap cranked out a solid 1-hour, 6-minute, 15-second lap to take Day 1 by 1 minute, 9 seconds.
“I’ve been kind of slowly building my confidence on these longer races. It’s taken a few years for me, I tend to prefer the shorter-length racing,” Woodruff said. “But I just try to keep a governor on lap two and, say, lap three I felt pretty confident that I could at least not crack at the end.”