Thrilling finish in Road Apple Rally's long-course race
Durango riders were separated by only a half second
FARMINGTON — The two stars of the outdoor cycling community in Durango, Colorado, again blew by the competition in the 38th annual Road Apple Rally today, competing primarily against each other for the title in the long-course race.
Brent Winebarger and Travis Brown found themselves separated by the slimmest of margins at the finish, with Winebarger claiming victory by only 0.53 seconds during the race at Lions Wilderness Park. Winebarger’s time was one hour, 45 minutes and 16.82 seconds. Brown’s time was one hour, 45 minutes and 17.35 seconds.
“We pretty much rode together the whole way. I kind of knew I wasn’t going to get away from him because he’s a legend,” said Winebarger, who won his second Road Apple Rally title in four years.
The two Durango professional cyclists were running neck and neck nearing the end of the 30-mile course.
“We were tagging a couple times on the road, trying to get rid of each other,” Brown said. “Once it gets close at the end and people are together on the pavement, it usually comes down to a sprint. It’s high speed, and it’s really hard to get rid of somebody. We were pretty evenly matched.”
Winebarger said he let Brown pass him briefly on the approach to the final stretch but held onto some reserve strength. Once he hit the final sprint line, which is about 100 yards from the finish, Winebarger said he looked to pull ahead of Brown.
“We literally drag raced across that back stretch coming in. I knew as long as I didn’t wash out on the gravel finish, I had it,” Winebarger said. “I think I was growling as I was sprinting. I kind of let it all out.”
Winebarger is no stranger to Lions Wilderness Park and the Farmington area, as his parents owned the local shop Cottonwood Cycles from 1997 to 2015.
“This was kind of my home course back in the day,” Winebarger said. “It’s still my favorite race course of all time.”
Rio Rancho native cruises to short-course win
Adam Snoke finished in 57 minutes, 46.78 seconds to claim the short-course title. He crossed the finish line well ahead of Farmington’s David Montoya, who took second in 1 hour, 1 minute and 1.61 seconds.
Farmington’s Mike Ziems (1 hour, 1 minute and 9.10 seconds) and Tim Harvey (1 hour, 1 minute and 13.20 seconds) placed third and fourth, respectively.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.