Neil Beltchenko at the finish, winning the CTR in 4 days, 10 hours.  Photo by Andrew Wracher @ Bedrock Bags - thanks Andrew!

Same old story - too nuts at the shop to keep up with CTR developments as they happen.  But, for those of you not following along on the race thread over at bikepacking.net, here's a little update.  When we left Neil (co-editor/creator of BikepackersMagazine.com) last, he was entering the last 75 miles of singletrack into Durango, with twelve hours to go for a sub 4-day finish.  The sleep monster didn't win out so much, but the injury one did - Neil's knee flared up badly, preventing pain-free pedaling and, for the last couple dozen miles, effective pedaling uphill.  So he walked much of the way into town, low on food (but with plenty of ibuprofen), coasting down the hills when he could.  He still made a super-fast time at 4 days, 10 hours, a record in its own right, since we haven't ever raced this exact course (Tarryall detour + Coney/Cateract) southbound before - just last year, northbound.  Assuming no more course changes, this will be the record to beat.  Neil came in the shop yesterday on his way back to Crested Butte, and he certainly didn't look like his knee was too injured, less a slightly shuffling gait (one I'm pretty familiar with!).  Heal up quick, Neil, that was an awesome run.

Over 24 hours later, the second and third place riders (Tim Lutz and Christian McCarthy) made their way to the Junction Creek trailhead.  At roughly 5.5 days, they weren't going slow by any means.  Unfortunately, neither finish qualified because they inadvertently missed a section of the CT up on Jarosa Mesa, near Spring Creek Pass - the same section missed by several riders in 2009 and 2013.  There was nothing we watchers could do but look on as their trackers showed them missing the section, imagining the disappointment they'd feel upon reaching Durango.

Customer Aaron Boatman made Silverton in good time and would have been in early today sometime - but he had to work today, so he rode the highway back home.  That's a bummer, but he'll be back for sure.

Durangoan (and my neighbor) Garrett Alexander has the unique distinction, due to the small field/disqualifications/dropouts, of potentially coming in third place in this year's CTR, with a time that would have been 20th to 23rd place for the last several years.  You never know what's going to happen in the CTR.  In any case:  Go Garrett!

Back to work now.  I'll be daydreaming of the 2015 CTR (slated to begin, as it did last year, here at VC!).  Racers, stop in and say hi!  I'd love to hear some stories while I'm turning wrenches.