It all came down to two of Durango’s finest last weekend outside Scottsdale, Arizona.
Christopher Blevins, a 2016 Durango High School graduate, and Todd Wells, a three-time Olympian and icon of mountain biking, were the top two riders at the Cactus Cup mountain bike race at the McDowell Mountain Park. In a three-race series spanning three days, the two jockeyed for position for the overall championship. In the end, Blevins claimed a narrow victory.
Blevins earned a win in short-track cross country Friday night. After two 12-minute laps, Blevins, Wells and Fernando Riveros charged hard together. Blevins was able to attack the final sprint to take an early lead.
“The group quickly split up on the fast rolling single track,” Wells said. “The trails are like concrete with kitty litter sprinkled on top, so traction in the corners is what split the group initially.
“Blevins attacked and brought Fernando and myself with him. We stayed together and sprinted it out for the win on the long false flat uphill finish straight into a headwind. Chris took the win and put nearly four seconds into me on the last straight.”
Wells answered back in the Saturday 40-mile cross country race. In the last third of the race when trails turned into rough desert riding, Wells said he put in a big effort to again come to the line with Blevins.
“This time I didn’t lose his wheel around the last corner to the finish straight, and I was able to come around him in the sprint and gain back about 1.5 seconds,” Wells said. “That effort gave me the win for the day and put me 2.5 seconds down on the (Grand Championship) heading into Sunday’s time trial.”
The 6-mile time trial was slightly downhill with some rollers at the end, Wells said.
“I needed 2.5 seconds but ended up second, giving Blevins the win and the overall win,” Wells said. “It was so much fun to see the Cactus Cup come back. A great way to kick off the season.”
Next up on Wells’ schedule is the Tuscon Bicycle Classic road stage race this weekend.
“I don’t think I’m going to be skidding around any corners in the time trial on Friday like at the Cactus Cup,” he joked.