Gonzales, Dolen take Runoff honors
CARBONDALE – It’s all about patience.
Aspen’s Lisa Gonzales, who has been competing in the Mt. Sopris Runoff longer than she can remember, claimed her first title in the 16-plus mile event Saturday.
Gonzales shaved nearly six minutes off last year’s time to clock in at 1 hour, 59 minutes, 26 seconds for the women’s crown. The mark was good for third overall in the 23rd annual Basalt-to-Carbondale backcountry road race.
“I just kept thinking about (American Tour de France cyclist) Lance Armstrong,” Gonzales said after the race. “It’s true, like fine wine, as I get older, I keep getting faster.”
Gonzales, 44, finished second in last year’s Runoff and has been on a tear of late in local events. She won last weekend’s Race for the Cure in Aspen and was second in the Boogie’s Run earlier this summer.
“Conditions were perfect,” she said. “There was a little cloud cover and the air was cooler.
“This is such a great race, because it doesn’t have huge numbers and the people who do it aren’t doing it for the glitz,” she added. “It’s a great way to get in a beautiful run and test yourself a little bit.”
Gonzales came in ahead of former champion Karen Sahn, of Snowmass Village, who finished in 2:03:32.
“I was slower today, but that’s OK,” said Sahn, 33, who won the event two years ago. “I was fast on the downhill and slow on the uphill.”
On the men’s side, many of the familiar names like defending champion Bernie Boettcher, Zeke Tiernan and Pete Hecht didn’t compete this year, opening the door for 45-year-old Boulder resident Tim Dolen.
Dolen battled with second-place finisher Rick Carroll midway through the race, but pulled away at the end to finish with the top overall time of 1:51:32.
“I caught him right at the crest of the hill,” Dolen said. “We did the first mile off the top of the hill in about 5 minutes and by then my legs turned to jelly.
“I thought I was in big trouble because I still had six or seven miles to go.”
It turned out Dolen wasn’t in such big trouble as he finished the race strong with a 4 1/2-minute advantage over Carroll, a resident of Aspen.
“I passed him on the downhill. Then he took the lead again and I couldn’t hang with him,” Carroll said.
While Carroll placed second, he improved dramatically on last year’s time. His 1:56:08 was more than 16 minutes better than last year.
Chris Malafouris and Richard Betts finished in 2:01:46 and 2:02:50, respectively, to round out the top five overall.
Here are the top finishers at Saturday’s Mt. Sopris Runoff:
Top 10 overall – 1, Tim Dolen, 1:51:32. 2, Rick Carroll, 1:56:08. 3, Lisa Gonzales, 1:59:26. 4, Chris Malafouris, 2:01:46. 5, Richard Betts, 2:02:50. 6, Chad Denning, 2:03:29. 7, Karen Sahn, 2:03:32. 8, Mike Check, 2:03:40. 9, Steve Miltic, 2:05:02. 10, Juliet Lind, 2:05:13.
Top five men – 1, Tim Dolen, 1:51:32. 2, Rick Carroll, 1:56:08. 3, Chris Malafouris, 2:01:46. 4, Richard Betts, 2:02:50. 5, Chad Denning, 2:03:29.
Top 5 women – 1, Lisa Gonzales, 1:59:26. 2, Karen Sahn, 2:03:32. 3, Juliet Lind, 2:05:13. 4, Kelley Mattingly, 2:06:47. 5, Kirsten Newhard, 2:14:13.
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