Vail resident takes third in 24-hour worlds
WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Several Western Slope riders had strong performances in the 2003 World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin? Championships on Saturday and Sunday in British Columbia.
Vail’s Nat Ross finished third overall, while Cullen Barker of Montezuma finished 14th. Ann James of Silverthorne finished 13th in the women’s race.
“It was some hardcore riding,” Ross said of the challenging course at Whistler Ski Resort. “It was classic northwest riding with roots, rocks and steep drops.”
Ross held second for much of the race behind eventual champion Chris Eatough of Great Britain, but was passed by veteran racer Tinker Juarez just after dawn on Sunday.
Ross’s strong showing caps an amazing summer for the former Breckenridge resident.
Ross placed fourth in 24-Hours of Laguna Seca, Calif. in May and one week later finishing second in the NORBA 24-Hour Championships in Spokane, Wash. Ross then went to Europe and took the title in the Global 24-Hour Solo Championships on June 21.
The race was Ross’s 20th 24-hour solo race. He has finished Montezuma’s Revenge four times, including a second place in 2000.
Ross hopes to continue building on his successful endurance racing career next year.
“I’ve had a taste of success,” he said of the European win. “I’ve been training and racing enough as to where I’m getting faster and I’ve been working on my diet.”
Ross hopes to unseat four-time champion Eatough next year. Ross finished within an hour of both Eatough and Juarez this year and rode side-by-side with Eatough during much of the NORBA race.
Ross, who also promotes the World Telemark Freeskiing Champsionships, still has one more opportunity to show his form this season at 24-Hours of Moab in October.
James, who rides for the Mountain Sports Outlet/Ti Amo Divas racing team, was riding in her first 24-hour solo event. Barker is an experienced 24-hour racer and works for Wilderness Sports in Silverthorne. Neither was available for comment on Wednesday night.
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