Lewis & Clark Ultra fills holiday weekend
By Glenn Johnson
The Lewis and Clark Ultra will celebrate its fifth anniversary Saturday, May 5, to start the Memorial Day weekend. The snow melted on top of Old Man Pass just in time. The road is clear and waiting for the competition that only ultra racers can give. Despite the competitive nature of a race, the time trial format allows the beauty, serenity and solitude to cleans the soul. For most people, the Memorial Day weekend allows for a three day vacation. This one-day race is a great way to launch into summer and still have two days off to relax.
The long loop starting in Hockinson, Wash., (near Vancouver) covers 144 miles of breath-taking scenery traveling through the majestic Columbia Gorge, over Old Man Pass and through the lush forest of the Mt. Saint Helens wilderness. All riders in the 12 and 24 categories will follow the long loop once, then take the short 10 mile loop until their time expires. Riders may choose to ride with or without support. Food, fuel and drink, sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, will be available at the four time/aid stations.
Hugh Gapay will be back again this year to try and break the 24 hour record of 374 miles that Ian Fillinger set last year. This is only one mile less than the record distance for the course, which was set by a two person team.
Gapay is a seasoned ultra cyclist claiming “Rookie of the Year” at the 2006 Race Across Oregon, multiple top three finishes at the Ring of Fire, raced more miles in 24 hour races than anyone in the country in 2009 and holds a UMCA (Ultra Marathon Cycling Association) “Ultracyclist of Distinction” award (one of only three people to receive it). He has also finished ninth in the famous Furnace Creek 508.
Yes, despite all of this Gapay says his biggest challenger will come from the Woman 50+ category with Karen Armstrong. Cristina Mehaescu will also be one to watch. She is determined to beat the course record (held by her) for Woman <50 of 304 miles.
The 12 hour course record for Men <50 is 219 set by Alex Telitsine. Can anybody beat that? On this course? But the Mens 50+ of 200 miles set by John Caton is nothing to sneeze at either. However, the biggest question is, how far can a tandem go in 12 hours? Mick and Martha Walsh are going to push it to the limit to find out. Can they beat 219? The Walsh’s are powerful. If anybody can, they can.
Finishing prizes will be supplied by Hammer Nutrition, Leatherman and Veleau.
For more information visit: lacultra.com