Newcomers make tracks in mountain bike racing

Former triathlete wins women’s Silver Rush 50-mile race in Leadville


Hannah Reese and Paola Larson are both considered newcomers to mountain bike racing and both are doing well.

Reese, a 31-year-old from the Littleton area who is a former triathlete and cross country runner, won the women’s Silver Rush 50-mile mountain bike race in Leadville on July 10 with a time of 4:54.01.

Larson, 41, captured the 15-mile women’s race in Leadville and the Castle Rock resident fashioned a winning time of 1:21.50 in the July 10 affair. Anabella Palmer, 21, also of the Littleton area, was second.

In the men’s 15-mile Silver Rush race, 14-year-old Luke Ozment of Golden was the winner.

Riders in the 50-mile women’s race climbed about 8,000 feet in elevation and it was a first for Reese, who rode a mountain bike for the first time last December.

“I’m pretty competitive,” said Reese, who tore both her hamstrings during triathlon training. “So I went back to cycling, started doing more cross training. My brother Caleb is a professional mountain biker and said I should get into mountain biking.

“I got a mountain bike in November last year and then I got to ride in December and of course it snowed. Then I started riding more in April. I’ve done three races so far.”

Reese, a registered dietitian who owns and founded Flow Formulas, which creates endurance and hydration mixes for sport drinks, learned from the Silver Rush race.

“I’m allergic to everything,” she said. “It’s my Achilles heel and my super power at the same time. It (Silver Rush race) was definitely a learning experience for me because I had never done a mountain bike race that long.

“It was challenging. The crazy thing is your heart rate is over 170 when you are walking your bike and you are trying to move yourself as fast as you can up a steep climb. Some of those rocks were so loose, it was very difficult. I started to feel an overall fatigue but my legs were good. That’s the training.”

Reese plans to enter the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race which is scheduled for Aug. 13.

“That will also be a big learning experience,” she said. “The Silver Rush was fun. For me mountain bike race is for two things. I really enjoy getting into that zone especially when I’m climbing. And then coming down you want to push the gas but you have timber and rocks and that’s kinda a thrill itself.”

Larson also is entered into the Leadville 100 and has improved in the two years she had been mountain bike racing.

“I love a new challenge,” said Larson. “What is the next challenge I can do and what is the next thing that I can maybe challenge myself to do?

“Last year I did the (Silver Rush) 50. I was obviously very new at it. I probably did all the wrong things you could do. I was a very slow racer but I did it.

“I was very anxious to see what I could do on that little bit of the course. I know 7.5 miles out and back is a shorter version of the Silver Rush. I felt really strong, I felt a huge difference from last year. I was pretty happy with the way I rode.”

The Leadville 100 is yet another challenge for Larson.

“I’ve never done 100 miles on a bike, any kind of a bike, so this is definitely the next challenge,” she admitted.

“My biggest thing to improve right now is going downhill. I’ve got to overcome that fear. Sometime I prefer the suffering of going uphill. You really have to be focused coming downhill. I feel like sometimes it is harder going downhill than going uphill.’’


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