Athletes take on the Susanville Area Bicycle Association's third annual Cougar Challenge
Beverly Anderson-Abbs, of Red Bluff, competes in the mountain biking portion of the long course during the third annual Cougar Challenge on Saturday, July 27. The Cougar Challenge is one of several races put on by the Susanville Area Bicycle Association each year. Photo by Joel Rathje
Lee Crane was the solo overall men’s winner and the first place winner in his age group. Crane completed the long course in one hour, 27 minutes and 41 seconds. Photo by Sabine Luedecke
Aug. 6 — The Susanville Area Bicycle Association (SABA) put on the third annual Cougar Challenge dirt duathlon Saturday, July 27 at Susanville Ranch Park. The event was a blast for participants and spectators who showed up in large numbers to test their athletic abilities and cheer on the racers.
“It was a big success with 42 entrants. We had people from Alturas, Cedarville, Red Bluff, Reno and locals. It was perfect conditions after the rainstorm,” said event organizer and SABA member Mark Kovacic.
The duathlon featured a long and short course and participants could choose to race individually or as a team. The long course consisted of a three-mile run and a 14-mile mountain bike ride. The short course was a one-mile run with a six-mile mountain bike ride. The challenge is referred to as a dirt duathlon because traditional duathlons take place on the road.
In the short course, Heidi Martinez was the first-place winner in the individual women’s category. For the short course co-ed teams, Bubba and Johnell Wright took first place, while Juan Jimenez and Lillie Buehler came in second.
In the long course, Bev Anderson-Abbs was the first-place overall women’s winner and the first-place winner in her age group. Camille Buehler took first place in her age group and was the second-place overall women’s winner. In the individual men’s division, Ruben Molina, Dane Nesbit, Jonny Wright, Lee Crane and Chuck Walen took first place in their age groups. Crane was the first-place overall men’s winner, Wright was the second-place overall men’s winner and Sean Buehler was the third-place overall men’s winner. Brian Tilford and Pat Davis competed as a team in the men’s division and took first place, Mark Hodges and Matthew Hill came in second and Glen Luedecke and Joe White got third. For the long course co-ed teams, Randy and Jill Robbins were the first-place winners, Mike and Madde Wright got second and David Lee and Julia Barnetche came in third.
The Cougar Challenge is one of three races SABA hosts throughout the year. However, the association plans to add a fourth race next year called an Enduro. An Enduro typically features challenging downhill races, but rather than being shuttled to the top of the start of the downhill courses, bikers must ride to the top before racing downhill. The event tests a rider’s endurance, as well as his or her technical downhill skills.
SABA describes itself as a dedicated group of bicyclists that focuses on mountain biking, club rides, as well as races. The association was originally geared more toward road biking, but shifted its focus to mountain biking when the Susanville Ranch Park and Susan River trails were formed. The organization is always accepting new members and welcomes riders of all skill levels. For more information on SABA, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/SABAriders/?ref=br_tf.