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Mountain bikers brave The Mountain’s Revenge for final time

Nolan Van Harte rides 129 miles for final win in 24-hour event’s 8-year history

Mountain bikers hike up Redcone Peak on Loop 3 of Saturday and Sunday's The Mountain's Revenge, a 24-hour high-elevation, backcountry mountain bike challenge based in Montezuma and on rugged trails in the area of the Continental Divide.
Adam Shaw/Special to the Daily

On Saturday afternoon, the eight riders brave enough to toe the old Montezuma schoolhouse start line found out while in the saddle why Adam Shaw hosted this year’s The Mountain’s Revenge mountain bike challenge on a new moon.

It was a new moon rather than the traditional full moon because this was the final time Shaw would host Mountain’s Revenge. For Shaw, it was time to move on and call it “lights out.”

“And I wanted to make sure those who showed up, those riding, were the first to know,” Shaw said.



Shaw’s two words — “one more” — have been synonymous with the 24-hour Mountain’s Revenge for the past eight years, as well as the event’s predecessor, Montezuma’s Revenge, dating back to 1986. In the Montezuma-based lap-a-palooza of rugged, high-elevation trails near the Continental Divide, “one more“ could mean one more lap, one more hour, even one more pedal. For this year’s racers, it meant one more time undertaking Revenge traditions like chasing the sunset down the Middle Fork of the Swan River.

On Sunday, nearly 24 hours after the midafternoon start, it was Mountain’s Revenge rookie Nolan Van Harte who won with a total of 129.5 miles and 22,715 vertical feet. Van Harte’s eight laps were the second-best in the history of the Mountain’s Revenge.

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Though it was Van Harte’s first Revenge, Shaw said the Colorado Endurance Series veteran and Frisco resident was well-prepared for the above-tree line challenges.

Nolan Van Harte is pictured at 11 a.m. Sunday in Montezuma, 21 hours after the start of The Mountain's Revenge, before heading out for his eighth and final lap in the 24-hour challenge. Van Harte won with more than 129 miles in 24 hours.
Adam Shaw/Special to the Daily

“He definitely put in an awesome showing,” Shaw said. “He was riding super, super awesome. It was just another really hard Revenge and another very hard course layout.”

Van Harte and other competitors were daunted by Shaw’s inclusion of a classic Montezuma’s Revenge-like night stage on the fourth loop. The Mountain’s Revenge is the legacy incarnation of Montezuma’s Revenge, a sanctioned mountain bike event that once challenged some of the sport’s best endurance racers in the Montezuma area from 1986 through 2006.

Saturday and Sunday’s final night loop was a 60-mile ride featuring 8,700 vertical feet of elevation difference as it took cyclists out of Montezuma, up Deer Creek, down the middle fork of the Swan River, through Galena Ditch and out to the Peaks Trail in Frisco before returning to Montezuma via Swan Mountain Road to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and down the Lenawee Trail into town.

“Everyone was telling me how hard the night loop was,” Shaw said. “I was trying to do some old school Revenge flair with the night loop, but the smoke definitely didn’t help anyone. It was a little interesting just with the heavy, heavy smoke. It was a little eerie.”

A mountain biker rides in the distance during this past weekend's final The Mountain's Revenge 24-hour mountain bike challenge based in Montezuma and on rugged trails in the area of the Continental Divide.
Adam Shaw/Special to the Daily

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