Cyclists Break Records
Last updated 11/21/2023 at 1:25pm
Over 200 cyclists from all over the world were back in Borrego Springs to compete in the annual 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trials, Nov. 3 to Nov. 5. These time trials are qualifying events for the Race Across America held in the summer, where riders ride from Oceanside all the way to Minneapolis, with riders coming through Borrego Springs, the first time station.
Borrego Springs is the perfect place for this race, offering an unbelievable setting – the beauty of the Anza-Borrego Desert set against the majesty of the Coast Range. Riders compile as many miles as possible in 6, 12, or 24 hours.
The course riders compete on is flat and fast, featuring a main loop of 18 miles with 347 feet of elevation change and a finishing loop of 4.8 miles with 63 feet of elevation change.
The course consists of two loops – an 18-mile loop and a 4-mile loop.
Competitors will race the 18-mile loop from their start until approximately two hours before the finish, then they will begin racing on the 4-mile loop until they finish. There are also seven age-group categories within seven event categories.
This race has become one of the most popular and highly attended events on the ultra-cycling calendar, having sold out the past few years.
Switzerland's Isa Pulver won the overall women's 24-hour of this year's race with 451.2 miles, and finished eighth overall.
Despite suffering a severe shoulder injury in July when an animal ran in front of her on a training ride and still not completely up to strength after the subsequent injury, she managed to beat all the riders out, and she was cleared only just a couple of weeks before the race.
Last year she earned the women's 24-hour age 50-59 category by riding 441.6 miles (18.7 mph avg.) to take the win and to break the existing WTTC 24-hour age 50-59 record previously held by Seana Hogan who logged 433.2 miles in 2018.
Pulver was also this year's overall solo winner in the Race Across America that was held back in June.
Second women's overall went to Dorina Vaccaroni (USA/Italy) who was racing in the 60 – 69 age group, where she also broke the record for that group.
Vaccaroni, a former Olympic Fencer also had a great race at this year's RAAM, finishing in 12 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes, with a 10.29 mph average to best the 2019 mark of Seana Hogan who completed that year's 3,069-mile route in 13 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes (9.7 mph average). Vaccaroni could come away with yet another record here in Borrego Springs. She's hoping to better the 24-Hour Solo Women's age 60-69 category record set last year by Laura Crawford with 351.6 miles.
The men's 24-hour solo overall winner and overall winner of the race was Stanislav Verstovšek (Slovenia).
Verstovšek did 523.2 miles, the fourth highest tally in WTTC history, only Christoph Strasser (Austria), Philipp Kaider (Austria) and Andy Jackson (UK) have done more, and has become a new member of the "500 Club".
He had an early lead in the race, but suffered a flat tire that proved difficult to repair at the roadside, resulting in a considerable time loss. "I think it was cactus," he told WTTC crews after the finish. "There are a lot here. We were here one week before the race and I had two punctures – always the cactus – a little piece on the road."
That setback dropped him down to third overall. But he kept his planned pace and continued to put down consistent laps through the night. It wasn't until the mid-day that he took back the lead and held it until the finish to take the overall solo honors and to win his solo male 40-49 age group.
Verstovšek came to Borrego Springs with a 500+ mile race in mind. "It was my-like I said-my target." That mileage also checked off another goal, "The World Championship," he said slowly with a broad smile and wide eyes, clearly proud of his achievement. "I am already a 3-time European Champion in 24-hour," he said with a shrug. He's also a Guinness World Record holder of several ultra-cycling distances, including 24-hour.
Surprisingly, he's only been cycling for a relatively short time, "Before that I was running. Then I was 36 years old, I go on bike." That same smile returned as he added "I very much enjoy the bike." With his proven speed and cycling prowess, we asked the inevitable question about doing the Race Across America or the Race Across the West. That suggestion was met with a pained expression from our champion, who then slowly replied, "I-don't-think-so," and concluded with, "Twenty-four hours is enough."
Returning 24-hour solo overall winner Philipp Kaider (Austria) unfortunately had to pull out of the race, due to stomach issues.
He had been up with the leaders in the early going and had completed a total of 270 miles. But when his last lap, his 15th lap, took him 51 minutes, compared to 44 minutes for his fastest, it was clear that something was amiss. Sure enough, not long after, his crew contacted the timing staff to report that he was done due to stomach issues.
This is surely disappointing to Kaider, who last year put in 531.6 miles, to become the newest member of the "500 Club." He also posted the third-highest mileage in WTTC history. Only 6-time RAAM winner Christoph Strasser (Austria) has done more.
Not far after him was Chris Stevens (USA) who finished with 510 miles, second overall. In third place overall was Jesse Hogin (USA) who finished with 505.2 miles and finished first in the 30 – 39 age group.
Marko Baloh (Slovenia) finished first in the age 50 – 59 category with 487.2 miles.
Baloh was back after a one-year WTTC hiatus, and was hoping to log over 500 miles – which would have been his sixth time in 6-12-24 Hour WTTC history. But that goal has been set aside, according to Irma Baloh, his one-woman crew in life and here in Borrego Springs.
"Marko was doing all good since a flat tire after 12 hours of racing. He lost 25 minutes, so a 500-mile tally is no longer accessible. But he is in good spirits doing what he knows best, riding the bike steadily and strongly. Two of the strongest guys had to DNF because of stomach problems (Phillippe Kaider) and knee problems (Vidar Mehl).
The Ey Legacy Builders finished first for the men's two-person team and We Met In Texas earned first in the women's two-person team.
Team We Met in Texas featured Borrego Springs' very own Sylvia Maas and Tami Meis Kerns, and they finished with a total of 428.4 miles.
In the 12-hour race, Ryan Collins (USA) finished first overall with 276 miles. He also finished first in the 20 – 29 age category.
Behind Collins was the men's two-person team of Ispeed Racing – Temecula Bike Shop (30 – 39 age category), who finished with 267.6 miles.
Third place overall and first solo women's 12-hour winner was Monica Storhaug Bernhoft (Norway), who finished with 258 miles.
Parsons/Mos (USA) finished first for the women's two-person team.
Men's Solo 60 – 69 – Peter Scherrer
Men's Solo 50 – 59 – Marko Baloh
Men's Solo 40 – 49 (First Overall in Men's Solo 24-Hour and First Overall in 24-Hour) – Stanislav Verstovšek
Men's Solo 30 – 39 – Jesse Hogin
Men's Solo 20 – 29 – Jonathan Bush
Women's Solo 40 – 49 – Christie Tracy
Women's Solo 50 – 59 – Isa Pulver
Women's Solo 60 – 69 – Dorina Vaccaroni (First Overall in Women's 24-Hour)
Men's Solo Recumbent 50 – 59 – John Crawford
Men's Solo Recumbent 60 – 69 – Clifford Federspiel
Women's Two-Person 60 – 69 – We Met in Texas
Men's Solo 20 – 29 (First Overall in Men's Solo 12 hour event) – Ryan Collins
Men's Solo 30 – 39 – Georgi Stoychev
Men's Solo 40 – 49 – David Arida
Men's Solo 50 – 59 – David Potter
Men's Solo 60 – 69 – Mark Schaefer
Men's Solo 70 – 79 – Ralph Schmook
Women's Solo 40 – 49 (First Overall in Women's Solo 12 hour) – Monica Storhaug Bernhoft
Women's Solo 50 – 59 – Iana Quesnell
Women's Solo 60 – 69 – Gail Matherly
Women's Two-Person Team – Parsons/Mos
Men's Two-Person 40 – 49 – Team Seedurr
Mixed Tandem 60 – 69 – White Owl
Results for the six-hour event will be in the Nov. 23 issue of the Borrego Sun.