2021 was kicked off in grand style. With a lower capacity limit, the 5th edition of the new Specialized Cactus Cup sold out in mid-February. We had a massive pro field with 50 men and 20 women. The competition was fierce not only at the pro level but down to the juniors. Race weekend began with Ned Overend hosting a pre-ride on Friday before the Time Trial got us rolling.
Friday – Time Trial
On the men’s side Riley Amos took the lead on day 1 winning the $100 prem. He finished the day with a 3 second lead on Cole Paton in 2nd and Christopher Blevins rounding out the top 3. For the ladies Savilia Blunk took the $100 prem. winning the day with Haley Batten and Sofia Gomez-Villafante in hot pursuit within 15 seconds going into Day 2.
Saturday – XC
The slight cloud cover and overnight moisture, led to amazing racing temperatures for the XC, and fast times! Keegan Swenson was able to get the win with Riley Amos and Cole Paton and the rest of top 6 finishing within a minute. A number of men, including Christopher Blevins hit a patch of bad luck with mechanicals, setting them back in the field. Rolling into day 3, Riley was clinging on to lead by just under 2 seconds! The ladies field saw another lead change with Sofia winning the day with a minute lead on Kelsey Urban in 2nd and Erin Huck finishing in 3rd. Similar to the men, the ladies had a few mechanicals impacting a few favorites – such is racing! Late in the day on Saturday a storm rolled in, delivering rain & hail to the remaining riders on course. None of that weather dampened the spirits at the MMC kids race though. We had great participation for grades k-8 and lots of smiles from the little ones – the stoke was high!
Sunday – Enduro
Sunday’s Enduro brought clear skies and slightly tacky conditions for Arizona. With cash on the line for the pros and really tight races, Sunday was set to be pretty spectacular. In the end Keegan Swenson was able to fly thru the Enduro grabbing a a full 18 seconds on Riley for the overall win. Out of contention, but still showcasing his skills, Blevins won the Enduro by 10 seconds, the only athlete to slip under 10 minutes for all 3 segments. Haley Batten took the win on the enduro for the women. For the ladies it was Sofia taking the overall win, but not without a hard charge from Kelsey Urban. The Jr Men had a few stellar races with Bryce Adams moving from 3rd position to 1st on the final day of racing with only a ONE second margin separating 2nd (Hayden Saltonstall) and 3rd (Ivan Sippy) – I’m pretty these young gentlemen will have a lot of great racing ahead of them.
Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, staff and most importantly – you, the athletes for supporting our event. We look forward to 2022 – be sure to register early, we fully expect that we will sell out once again, and want to see you on the start line with us. Have a great rest of your 2021 race season!