The USA Cycling National Marathon Championships at Wildwood Park dodged a bullet, as expected thunderstorms did not develop, but the riders had to deal with temperatures as high as 94 (F), with humidity nearly as high. Hydration quickly became a bigger challenge for the riders than the distance.
Todd Wells (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs) defeated Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak Ergon-Canyon) by just 1:23 to repeat as champion, while Ryan Woodall (Top Gear) from Ocala, Florida, finished third less than three minutes behind Wells.
The Columbia County course consisted of two 30-mile loops. The first half was flatter and less technical than the second half. Fortunately for the racers, over half the course benefited from the shade of oak and pine forests.
Todd Wells talked about the race, “I knew from last year that nothing happens on that first loop. Last year JB (Bishop) and I attacked so many time and we still rolled through (at the end of the lap) with a group of ten to twenty….same this year.”
By the fourth water stop at the 40-mile mark, the entire race had blown apart and nearly everyone was riding alone. Wells had opened a 90-second lead over Tristen Cowie who later faded a bit.
Wells explained, “I knew that after the first lap it was a good time to go. Guys are a little tired and you can make a bit of a difference there. So I pushed it on the singletrack, and ended up getting a gap on the road, and then kept it going to the finish.”
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