Durangoans drink deep at Whiskey Off-Road

Courtesy photo

Durango was well-represented at the Whiskey Off-Road last weekend in Prescott, Ariz., earning several top results from its Durango DEVO and Sweet Elite programs. “Just out of the money but a great experience,” DEVO coach Chad Cheeney said.

Herald Staff Report

Durango cyclists had a regular hootenanny in Prescott, Ariz., last weekend, passing around a bottle of sweet success at the Whiskey 50.

Durangoan Kenny Wehn imbibed 50-proof victory in the 50-mile main event, finishing in 3 hours, 28 minutes, 35 seconds, more than three minutes ahead of second-place Ty Kady of Huntington Beach, Calif.

Another local, Joshua McDowell of Durango, finished third, less than a second behind Kady in 3:31.39 in the 617-person field.

Durango singlespeed rider Kirby Bryant – third among the men’s singlespeeders – was 11th overall.

For the 25-proof race, Durango Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/DEVO Sweet Elite juniors rider Kaylee Blevins was the overall winner in the female category (24th overall), winning by more than 11 minutes over second-place female Christine Irelan of Colorado Springs.

Stephan Davoust, meanwhile, was the second-best male rider for the Sweet Elite team, finishing in 2:15.57 behind Keegan Swirbul of Carbondale (2:14.03).

Sweet Elite’s Levi Kurlander was third in 2:19.38.

Ivan Sippy was Durango’s top finisher in the 15-mile fun ride, finishing 26th in 2:14.41. His dad, Iron Horse Bicycle Classic race director Gaige Sippy, finished 11th in the 25-mile race.

In the Whiskey’s professional 50-mile pro endurance cross country race, Durango’s Ben Sonntag took fourth overall in 3:05.37, about eight minutes behind winner Geoff Kabush of Courtenay, British Columbia.

Durangoan Olympian Todd Wells was seventh in 3:07.58, and Sweet Elite’s Sepp Kuss took 13th – despite riding 40 of the 50 miles with just two gears because of a broken rear derailuer cable.

“Just out of the money but a great experience racing with the country’s top endurance racers,” DEVO coach Chad Cheeney said in an email to The Durango Herald.

Payson McElveen finished 29th for the DEVO team, and Sweet Elite alumnus Howard Grotts finished 34th after dealing with two flat tires.

Another Sweet Elite alumna, Teal Stetson-Lee, was Durango’s top finisher in the women’s field, taking 12th in 3:52.24.

Lauren Catlin took 23rd for the Sweet Elite team in 4:03.39, and teammate Sarah Sturm took 29th in 4:14.04.

In the pro criterium, Sonntag took 10th for the men, Grotts was 15th, Wells 17th, Troy Wells 23rd and Kuss 28th.

Stetson-Lee was seventh in the women’s crit, Sturm 25th, Brianne Marshall 29th and Catlin 33rd.

The Sweet Elite team next will race in 12 Hours of Mesa Verde on May 10, where a three-woman and three-man team each will compete, in addition to several DEVO teams. Before that, though, Catlin, McElveen and Grotts will represent the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks at the road cycling national championships Friday through Sunday in Ogden, Utah.


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