Age isn't keeping Jeff Mozingo down. Then again, he saw things a little differently this past Saturday.
"I used to be young enough and fast enough to beat all of these guys," the Rifle resident said. "It's pretty obvious I'm not as young as I used to be."
Not that age really mattered for the 48-year-old this past weekend. Mozingo, just shy of his 49th birthday, earned the King of Chaos title thanks to his second place finish in the cross-country race and third place showing in the hill-climb race at the 12th annual Roan Cliff Chaos off-road bike races on Hubbard Mesa and up to the Roan Plateau.
"I guess you could say it gets harder as I get older," said Mozingo, who donned his Mesa State College biking shirt from when he was a volunteer coach of the team for three years. "This is such a great place to ride and a great challenge."
Mozingo met that challenge and then some. On Saturday in the cross-country race, he completed the four six-mile off-road circuits on the Hubbard Mesa recreational area in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 7.03 seconds, just off the pace of overall race winner Chris Brandt (2:04:19.19). In the hill climb - a 2,600 vertical-foot climb over an eight-mile stretch on the JQS Road to the top of the Roan Plateau - Mozingo finished in 59:04.55.
It was the 12th running of the race, which was hosted and organized by the Rifle Parks and Recreation Department. Though the turnout - 20 riders for the cross-country race and 19 for the hill climb - wasn't as big as in years past, due to a similar race scheduled for the same weekend in Palisade, race organizer Wayne Edgeton said there's initial talks about beginning a racing series to promote a higher turnout at both venues.
Previous race results provided by Edgeton show Mozingo has managed to turn out for the race every year, though Mozingo insists he missed at least a year or two. He used to ride competitively quite often, actually winning the Mountain States Cup racing series in 2002.
Now, Mozingo, who works at Alpine Bank in Rifle, focuses more on racing locally than making the trek to Colorado's neighboring states to race. And he's just fine with that.
"There's no real need to drive all the way to Denver or Moab to get a good race or ride in, when there's a good one right here," Mozingo said. "I can go from my house and ride five to 10 minutes to get up here. It's a great place to keep coming to."
In the hill climb race, Charlie Wertheim took the overall men's title with a winning time of 56:27.34. Tiff Lindenberg was the overall women's winner, crossing the finish line in 1:08:05.24.
Winning the expert division of the cross country race was Brandt. Adam Cornely won the sport division - two circuits around the course - in 1:10:02.94, to edge second-place finisher Matthew Hamilton (1:10:26.42). Scott Owens won the one-lap beginner race in 50:07.44.
Placing second in the 40-49 age group was Jean Simonson, who rode in the race for the first time since 2006. Conflicting schedules over time kept her from coming out to the race, but she wasn't complaining, despite the obvious fatigue from her time on the course.
"I feel like I had a bad day today, but this is a really good course to ride," she said. "I'll leave here feeling like I've done something good."