Highlighting this year’s event, which took place at Phil’s World on May 12, were creative costumes, standout performances from local riders in solo categories, a team championship for one of Cortez’s top riders, and a masterful performance by one of the race’s oldest competitors.
Taken together, the many exciting aspects of this year’s race made for one of the most memorable days in the event’s 12-year history and again solidified the event’s status as one of Southwest Colorado’s most entertaining athletic events.
Below are the top storylines from this year’s race.
Dr. Seuss theme a big hitKnown for its colorful themes that change on an annual basis, the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde race has featured more than its fair share of creative costumes over the years, yet few have been as entertaining as those featured as this year’s Dr. Seuss-themed event.
Among the top costumes were Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes based on Dr. Seuss’s classic, “The Cat in the Hat,” and a Fox in Socks costume that featured long red and white socks and a large fox tail attached to a rider’s back.
Other interesting getups included mixes of polka dot pants and striped shirts and helmets affixed with reindeer horns similar to those that were worn by The Grinch’s loyal dog, Max.
Several colorful team names also dotted the leaderboard, including Foxes in Soxes; One Bike, Two Bike, Red Bike, Blue Bike; and Green Eggs and Dan.
Together, the colorful costumes and creative monikers kept fans and fellow riders entertained throughout the event as loud shouts and cheers accompanied the passing of creatively dressed riders participating in one of the year’s most aesthetically unique athletic events.
Locals place well in solo categories While colorful costumes certainly caught the eye of race fans, so too did the performances of several of the area’s most accomplished riders, who matched up well against out-of-town competitors in the solo categories.
Among the top local riders in the Solo Geezer category, which was open to riders over 50 years of age, was Dolores resident Stephen Axt, who placed ninth overall after completing five laps in 9 hours, 37 minutes and 28 seconds.
Leading local riders in the Solo Female category was Mancos rider Eirin MacLaren, who completed five laps in 11 hours, 22 minutes, and 38 seconds and placed 10th overall.
Dolores resident Scott Clowe rounded out the area’s top local finishers with a 19th-place finish in the Solo Male category that resulted after he completed eight laps in 11 hours, 26 minutes and 58 seconds.
Ashley Carelock leads team to victoryStanding out among the top local performers in the team categories was Dolores resident Ashley Carelock, who joined with Caleb Thompson, Beth Bush, and Ciro Zarate to take first place in the coed 3-4 person team category.
Carelock’s team, known as Pedal Powers Perilous Poo, completed nine laps in 11 hours, 42 minutes and 26 seconds, to finish just three minutes ahead of a team led by local rider Terry Gorsuch, which completed nine laps in 11 hours, 45 minutes and 16 seconds.
The team victory was especially sweet for Carelock, who competes professionally, but withdrew from last year’s Solo Female race due to sickness. The Dolores rider indicated that she will compete in several high profile solo races in the coming months.
Anne Gonzales outlasts younger riders In a race full of talented riders, perhaps none were as impressive as 56-year-old Anne Gonzales, whose age-defying performance will likely be talked about for years to come.
Competing in the Solo Female category, the Aspen resident showcased impressive technical riding and no shortage of endurance as she circled the race course seven times in 11 hours, 15 minutes and 20 seconds, and took first overall in one of the race’s toughest categories.
Had Gonzales competed in the Male Solo category, she would have finished fifth.
Proceeds donated to good causeFounded in part to raise money for at-risk youth in the area, the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde bike race has donated more than $350,000 to local organizations since 2003. Previous beneficiaries have included the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, the Piñon Project, the School Community Youth Collaborative and the Southwest Open High School. The event is presented by Osprey Packs.
Although The Journal was unable to ascertain how much money was raised by this year’s event before its press deadline, several thousand dollars in proceeds were generated by this year’s event and those proceeds will be donated to youth organizations in the local community.
As riders, race organizers and volunteers departed the Montezuma County Fairgrounds at the conclusion of this year’s event, smiles were aplenty as all those in attendance reflected on what will be remembered as a truly wonderful race.