(UPDATE: Monday, 3:15 p.m., Complete photo galleries for
Bear Springs Trap XC are now posted online HERE).
PHOTO: James Williams makes his way through the snowpack.
McCUBBINS GULCH, Ore. -- Sean Babcock (Team S&M) rode at the front of the Bear Springs Trap cross country race from start to finish Sunday to take the Pro Men's event on Mount Hood. Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) battled Veloforma's Alice Pennington for the win in the Pro Women's race.
Remains of last winter's record snowfall covered long stretches of the course as the Pro/Cat. 1 men and women covered 30+ miles on the rolling terrain around McCubbins Gulch near the Bear Springs Ranger station on Mount Hood between Government Camp and Maupin.
Although the clouds dissipated and the sun appeared Sunday to heat things up with summer-like temperatures, many of the upper sections of the course turned into hikes through snow that varied from six inches to several feet deep. Paths cut through the snow allowed passage, but most riders eventually had to dismount through the deepest, slipperiest sections.
Babcock wasted little time laying down the gauntlet with a hard charge off the line that saw him first up the powerline motorcycle-trail climb that kicked off the race.
By the time Babcock hit the Clear Creek Bridge heading for the Rimrock Loop, the S&M rider had built a lead of several minutes on a small group of chasers that included Steve Larsen, James Williams (Cannondale Factory Team), Matt Russell (Capitol Subaru Cycling), Erik Tonkin (Kona Factory Team) and Spencer Paxon (Team S&M). Echo Red to Red winner and Oregon XC Series overall leader Evan Plews (Capitol Subaru Cycling) suffered mechanical problems leading up to the bridge and was several minutes behind the chase group at the first crossing.
Babcock held onto his lead and finished the course in 2:17:22. Paxon used his time on the Rimrock Loop wisely, moving into second place by the end of the race, three minutes and seven seconds behind the winner. Larsen finished third, crossing the line one minute, 22 seconds later.
Butler, from Portland, used the same tactic in the Pro Women's race, opening an early gap on Hood River's Pennington and holding it for the 30+ miles to the finish.
Plews is now tied with Williams in the Oregon XC Series with 70 points. Babcock's win lifts him to third with 60. Pennington leads the Pro Women's series ahead of Butler, Stephanie Blasi and Sami Fournier.
The next race in the mountain bike series is the 21st Peak Sports Mudslinger on Sunday, May 3, near Philomath. The Mudslinger will also decide the OBRA XC Championships.
1. Sean Babcock (Team S&M)
2. Spencer Paxon (Team S&M)
3. Steve Larsen
4. Erik Tonkin (Kona Factory Team)
5. James Williams (Cannondale Factory Team)
6. Matt Russell (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
7. Evan Plews (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
8. Steve Carwile (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
9. Justin Finn (Spooky bikes)
1. Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale)
2. Alice Pennington (Veloforma/Zym)