HOMESTAKE — Despite a few unexpected detours, Chris Mehlman found a way to power through on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Colorado Springs resident and Massachusetts native overcame a few hiccups to win the 15th Butte 100 mountain bike race in 8 hours, 50 minutes and 38 seconds on a hot but clear afternoon at Homestake Pass.
"You never know how things are going to go during the day," said Mehlman. "I made several wrong turns, got sent the wrong way one time at an aid station. Probably did an extra couple of miles. But that's the reality of doing these races and that's what makes it fun."
Carter Hall placed second (9:13:49), Matt Acker was third (9:20:09), Adam Farabaugh took fourth (9:32:22) and Peter Leclaire was fifth. (9:59:03). Those top five were the only riders to break the 10-hour barrier.
With some three miles of elevation gain along the route, the Butte 100 is a true test of endurance and willingness to embrace pain. Mehlman said it all comes down to belief and camaraderie between riders.
"You just have to keep thinking that you can do it," Mehlman said. I think it helps that I've done a bunch of these before, so I know I can do it. And you just have to remember if you're hurting everyone else is hurting. And one thing that's great is if you're passing someone or someone's passing you, everyone cheers each other on."
The Butte 50 was won by Castle Rock, Colorado, resident Chad Barentsen who recently competed at the USA Cycling National Championships in Winter Park.
"I just had the legs today," Barentsen said. "It was a good course. Forest Service cleared everything perfectly."
Barentsen won with a time of 4:41:10. Max Kluck, who won the Butte 100 last year, placed second in the Butte 50 (4:59:04), Josh French took third (4:59:09), Travis Walnum placed fourth (5:00:18) and Jake Yahrmatter was fifth (5:04:25).
For full results from the Butte 100, Butte 50 and Sorini 25, click here.