Over 2,600 cyclists from around the nation gathered in the towns of Hayward and Cable Wisconsin for the 38th annual Chequamegon MTB Festival, which featured $10,000 in prize winnings.
A rider from Durango, however, scored a first-place finish in the event’s signature distance – 40-miles of the famed Birkie Ski Trail, forest roads and winter snowmobile routes.
Cole Paton, 23, of Durango, took first on Saturday with a finish time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 26 seconds. The 2019 first-place winner, Alexey Vermeulen, 26, of Pinckney, Mich. took second, crossing the finish at 2:15:27. Corey Stelljes, 40, of Madison, Wis., placed third with a time of 2:15:49.
“This is my first time in the Midwest and Chequamegon is an awesome event,” Paton said about his win. “It was a tactical race and Alexey was riding really strong. Everyone here is super welcoming, and I think this is going to be a tradition. Next year I’m focusing on Life Time events; Life Time is doing a great job of promoting athletes and I want to support that.”
In the women’s 40-mile, Melisa Rollins, 25, of Salt Lake City, Utah crossed the finish first with a time of 2:36:39.
Upcoming events on Life Time’s off-road cycling calendar include The ‘Rad Dirt Fest in Trinidad, Colo. Oct. 2-3 and Big Sugar NWA Gravel in Bentonville, Ark., Oct 23. More information is available at my.lifetime.life/athletic-events.