Canadian Cyclist


July 16/00 10:45 am - Red Zinger

Posted by Editoress on 07/16/00

Red Zinger Classic - Breckinridge, Colorado - July 15

Moninger Survives Grueling Zinger in Colorado Mountains
Courtesy Red Zinger Media

In the most difficult bicycle race the United States has ever seen, the sport's true mountain goats came to the forefront Saturday as Scott Moninger led a group of four of riders based in Boulder, Colo. across the line in the grueling 138-mile Zinger Cycling Challenge.

Covering seven mountain passes on both paved and unpaved roads in weather that went from hot to cold, sun to rain, Moninger, a 33-year-old member of the Mercury Cycling Team, made his decisive move on the 11,547-foot Hoosier Pass just 10 miles south of Breckenridge. There he made several attacks and separated himself from three other leaders to finish the race in 7 hours, 17:34 minutes. Carl Swenson of the Tokyo Joe's International Composite Team was second at 7:18:54 while Chris Wherry of the Saturn squad was third at 7:19:54. Jess Swiggers, a 20-year-old who rides for the Trek-Volkswagen mountain bike team, was fourth in 7:21:49. Swenson, 30, and Wherry, 26, and Swiggers all reside in Boulder.

The race started in Boulder under hot, summer skies and climbed into the foothills west of the city on roads made famous by the original Red Zinger Bicycle Classic in the 1970s and 1980s. Fifty miles later it dropped onto gravel and dirt on the aptly named Oh My God Pass near Idaho Springs. Three riders made an early escape, including Swiggers, an unexpected challenger to the more seasoned road racers. But the gravel and dirt took their toll on all but Swiggers, who charged ahead, unfazed by the road conditions.

After a brief respite of flat roads between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, the riders began their most difficult ascent of the day, up the 11,617-foot Guanella Pass, an unpaved road.

At that point Swiggers was alone in front with a lead of approximately 2:10 minutes. But Moninger, Wherry, Carl Swenson and his brother Pete, along with Christian Vande Velde, a U.S. Postal Service rider who got knocked out of the Tour de France by a spider bite, started making their move to capture the young mountain biker. Vande Velde abandoned at the top of Guanella Pass -- he had not intended to finish -- and Moninger decided to make a switch to a mountain bike for the rocky descent.
"I was questioning that decision until I caught up to Chris and Carl and they both flatted," said Moninger. Swiggers also flatted on the rough and rocky descent that was muddy from the rain that had started to fall. "I didn't gain any time, but I had a softer ride to the bottom (of Guanella Pass)."

Moninger switched back to a road bike when the riders were back on pavement. By then the rain was pouring and the wind had picked up.

Eventually the four formed an alliance of sorts, battling wind and rain and fatigue. "The last hour and a half I was in survival mode," said Moninger. Yet Wherry was wary of the noted climber, which became apparent on the final climb up Hoosier Pass. Moninger repeatedly attacked -- five times in all -- before he shed the others, opening a gap of 1:05 minutes at the crest of the final descent.

"By the top I had a minute, and that was enough," said Moninger. "Of that group, I knew Chris wasn't the guy I wanted to go to the finish with. He's bigger and stronger in a sprint."

Soaked, chilled, his teeth chattering from the cold, Moninger came over the line alone. By he was warmed by the $15,000 first place check.

Created by the founder of the Celestial Seasonings tea company, Mo Siegel, and others, the race was indeed a Zinger.

"This course was unbelievably hard. I've never done anything like it in America," said Brendan Vesty, a New Zealand rider who won a $5,000 prime offered by the Mardi Gras Casino in Blackhawk, 40 miles into the race. "The wind, the altitude, everything together, it was incredibly difficult."

Men - 138-miles w/ 14,000 feet of accumulated climbing
1. Scott Moninger (Mercury Cycling Team) 7:17:34
2. Carl Swenson (Tokyo Joes International Team) at1:20
3. Chris Wherry (Saturn Cycling Team) 0:02:20
4. Jess Swiggers (Trek-VW/NutraFig) 0:04:15
5. Pete Swenson (Tokyo Joes International Team) 0:20:37
6. Floyd Landis (Mercury Cycling Team) 0:21:29
7. John Lieswyn (Shaklee Cycling Team) 0:27:13
8. Will Frischkorn (Mercury Cycling Team) 0:27:22
9. Clark Sheehan (7-Up/Colorado Cyclist) 0:28:52
10. Brendon Vesty (Navigators Cycling Team) 0:28:52
11. Bart Bowen (Saturn Cycling Team) 0:28:52
12. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Rocky Mounts) 0:30:19
13. Jimi Killen (Monsoon Racing) 0:30:37
14. Zachery Vestal (Trek-VW/NutraFig) 0:31:44
15. Jon Heidemann (Vitamin Cottage/Morgul Bismark) 0:34:25
16. Frank Mapel (Trek-VW/NutraFig) 0:37:56
17. Steve Crowley (Vitamin Cottage/Morgul Bismark) 0:39:55
18. Dario Falquier (Alto Velo/WebCor/ 0:43:41
19. Mike Ley (7-Up/Colorado Cyclist) 0:48:18
20. Nathan Dahlberg (Tokyo Joes International Team) 0:48:18

Timex's Mari Holden Wins the Saturn Teamwork Challenge at the Zinger Classic! Holden Finishes Second Overall.
Courtesy Timex

Today's Saturn Pro Tour race in Breckenridge, CO featured a thirty five-mile battle at 10,000 feet. Held on the finishing circuit of the now famous men's 139-mile Zinger race, the women's race showcased some of the best women cyclists in the US. Timex's Holden proved she is returned to excellent health by winning the Saturn Teamwork Challenge and finishing in second in the overall results.

With help from teammate Kim Smith, Timex's Holden was able to win the intermediary sprints, which were held at the top of a tough little hill on the circuit. Her accumulation of points throughout the race won Holden the Saturn Teamwork Challenge, but not, unfortunately, the win. Held as a miss-and-out style race, Timex's Holden narrowly missed winning the race to Saturn's Nicole Reinhart. Reinhart's win continues to open her robust lead over Autotrader's Tina Mayolo in the overall Saturn Pro Tour yearlong race series.

Women - 45 minute timed Criterium in downtown Breckinridge
1. Nicole Reinhart (Saturn)
2. Mari Holden (Timex Women's Pro Cycling Team)
3. Dede Dement-Barry (Saturn)
4. Sarah Konrad (Lakewood Racing)
5. Anna Wilson (Saturn)
6. Anke Erlank (
7. Kimberly Smith (Timex Women's Pro Cycling Team)
8. Karen Dunne (Elita)
9. Kori Kelly (Proctor & Gamble Women's Health)
10. Julie Hanson (Saturn)
11. Kimberly Bruckner (
12. Andrea Ratkovik (
13. Jenny Eyerman (Jane Cosmetics)
14. Suzanne Sonye (Saturn)
15. Pam Schuster (
16. Tiffany Pezzulo (Proteus)
17. Allie Warfel (DeFeet)
18. Beth Leasure (AST)
19. Rebecca McClintocle (Jane Cosmetics)
20. Marjon Marik (
21. Katherine Burkhead (Monsoon Racing/Rockin Road/Cannondale)
22. Gail Longenecker (Lakewood Racing)
23. Margell Abel (Verita)
24. Annabelle Vowels (Unattached)
25. Tina Mayolo (
26. Bridgette Evans (Unattached)

Mercury's Scott Moninger wins epic Zinger Road Race.
Courtesy Mercury

The 140 mile event featured 14,000' of climbing and was held under constant rain in 40 degree temperatures

The race had several sections of dirt roads including the Guanella Pass were several riders flatted. In fact, Moninger executed a perfect bike change to a mountain bike for the descent. The strategy was part of the Mercury plan to keep Moninger as fresh as possible for the last climb of Hoosier pass.

On Hoosier pass, a 3 man group including Chris Wherry and Carl Swenson took turns attacking trying to solo into victory. It was Moninger who would prove to be the strongest with his 5th attack proving decisive.

Red Zinger Classic
Courtesy Navigators

Brendon Vesty of the Navigators Cycling Team won the Sprinter's Jersey on his way to 10th place overall today in a race described as one of the most "epic" challenges in the world. The event certainly lived up to its billing as only 24 of the 122 starters made it from Boulder, Colorado to the finish line in Breckenridge after over 7 hours hours of racing. The race, covering 138 miles over seven mountain passes with approximately 15,000 feet of vertical climbing, topped out on the Guanella Pass at 11,671 feet. The riders were greeted with challenges ranging from temperatures in the 90's soon after the start, to rain, hail and temperatures in the low 40's at the peaks. In addition, the steep climbs and miles of dangerous descents on unpaved gravel, muddy, washboard roads coupled with strong winds took their toll on all of the competitors.

With the lucrative sprint competition as one of the team's major goals for the day, Brendon's bid for success started approximately 8-miles into the race on the first climb, an ascent to Wondervu Pass. Brendon was soon joined by Trent Klasna (Saturn) and Josh Collingswood (Jelly Belly) and the three riders began their attack of the course. By the time they reached the top of Wondervu, the trio had a lead of about 5-minutes on the peloton, which had already shrunk by nearly 25% by the time they reached the summit. Over the next several miles, Brendon pulled away from his compatriots and set out on his own, pulling nearly 8-minutes out of the main field. He easily took the sprint points on the first two hot spots, in Black Hawk and Idaho Springs, leaving only 2 more sprints to contest.

The course, and the quickly deteriorating weather conditions, coupled with the steep, muddy climb to Guanella Pass decimated the field over the rough terrain. Groups of 2,3 and 4 riders made the ascent to Guanella and Brendon found himself between groups as he reached the peak, his 50-mile solo effort ending. Racing down the dangerous, washboard slope on the other side, he reached 50 miles-per-hour as a general regrouping occurred of the small groups and individuals. By the time they started climbing the road to Kenosha Pass, the race Commissaries were reporting that there were only about 25 riders left in the race, with nearly 60 miles remaining! The sag wagons provided by the race organization, in anticipation of such an outcome, had filled up and emptied themselves at least two times during the first half of the race.

The competitors were rapidly switching into "survival" mode as they made their way toward the second half of the race and the final climbs toward the finish line in Breckenridge. The lead group of four, Scott Moninger (Mercury), Chris Wherry (Saturn), Carl Swenson (Tokyo Joe's) and Jess Swiggers (Trek/VW) were putting time on the rest of the shattered field and looked to be staying away until the finish. In the end, it was Moninger, followed by Swenson and Wherry. Following the race, those tough enough to make it all the way in were being quoted with statements such as, "this race was crazy sick", the hardest race I've ever done","I don't know if I could do this again", "epic", etc.

There were only 20 finishers of the 110 starters.


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