Al Hansen edged Bob Stanton by a mere four feet to win the Growlers Gulch Climbing Championship on October 16th. Eric Shew of Seattle came out of nowhere to grab the third spot.
Dara Muldoon survived a strong challenge by Tonya Breedlove to capture the women’s division. The event was sponsored by Growlers Gulch Racing. See complete results at the bottom of this post.
With the victory, Hansen attained rarified status at Growlers, establishing himself as the year’s top climber, just weeks after being recognized as the best descender by virtue of his victory at the Growlers Gulch Super D.
Carnage Falls to Nineteen Riders
The opening climb proved to be little more than a warm-up, as 19 of 37 competitors railed the corner on Carnage and easily rang up the full 225-foot total. Marcus Faber, Jeep LeMonds, Cage Aaron, Aaron Althaeuser, Rob Larsen, Dave LeMonds, Bob Stanton, Randy Toney, Mike Van Hoose, Andy Crump, Al Hansen, Thomas Mueller, Jeff Muldoon, Chase Bryant, Erik Carlson, Ryan Hicks, Shane Oberg, Dara Muldoon, and Eric Shew racked up clean climbs and were tied for the top spot after one round.
Aaron Nails Upper KMA
A 400-foot section of the Upper KMA proved to be an either-or situation. Either you made the nasty creek crossing at the 45-foot mark and put up good numbers, or you didn’t. Nearly a dozen riders had their dreams shattered at the creek early on and gave up nearly 300 feet in the process.
Approximately 20 riders got to the 350-foot mark, but only Cage Aaron, who finished third at the ’09 Climbing Championship, was able to conquer the steep lip at the top and claim a full-pull. After the second round, Aaron led with 625 feet, with a large group only 25 to 50 feet behind.
Lung Buster Falls to Eric Shew
Newcomer Eric Shew vaulted into the lead when he was the only rider to ring up every one of the 350 miserable feet on Lung Buster.
In addition to Shew, Dave LeMonds, Bob Stanton, Al Hansen, Shane Oberg, Andy Crump, Bob Stanton, Thomas Mueller and Tonya Breedlove made the bastardly left-hand switchback at the 150-foot mark look easy. Breedlove’s effort pulled her to within 16 feet of Dara Muldoon in the women’s competition.
Shew led with 936 feet after three rounds, followed by Mueller (933), Stanton (929), and Hansen (922). Cage Aaron failed to negotiate the switchback and fell back among the mere mortals.
Ridge Trail Proves Unconquerable
It was fine for the Board of Director to measure off a 450-section at the bottom of the Ridge Trail for the competition and pretend that all of it was in play. The problem was that this steep, slippery, rooty, rutted climb blew up competitors’ legs and lungs.
Jeff Muldoon was the king of the hill, with 289, followed by Hansen (287), Rob Larsen (278), Mueller (277), and Stanton (276). Dara Muldoon had a sterling climb (247) to extend her lead over Breedlove.
The Ridge took a big toll on Shew, who had led the competition entering the fourth round. He spun out at 196 and fell to the sixth spot overall.
Going into the final climb, defending champion Thomas Mueller (1,210) led Hansen (1,209) by only a foot. Stanton (1,206) remained within striking distance.
The Hill at 465
All the marbles were on the table, and the crowd lined the course to provide a little extra pressure. The final hill included a tight spot between two trees at the 100-foot mark and then a very steep test from 150 to 185.
Shew gained partial redemption by cleaning it all, which would ultimately vault him into third place. Jeep LeMonds, who had reportedly practiced this climb on occasion, also had a full-pull.
Stanton turned up the heat by recording a clean climb, leaving Mueller and Hansen with no choice but to do the same if they hoped to win. Mueller could not navigate the tight trees early on and fell to the sixth spot, but Hansen nailed it to pass Stanton and claim the title.
Dara Muldoon (1,147) reached the 169-foot mark to maintain her lead over runner-up Breedlove (1,072), who had 164. Juntu Oberg (904) had a great day and finished third in the women’s division.
Notes: Big thanks to Randy Toney who handled most of the recording and served as MC . . . Eric Shew was the only rider to rack up three clean climbs. Al Hansen, Cage Aaron, Bob Stanton, and Jeep LeMonds each two . . . Dara Muldoon became the first woman to achieve a full-pull when she went turbo and blew away the hill on Carnage . . . Props to 14-year-old Gavin Pfuhl, who participated in his first Growlers event . . . Cage “The Rabbit” Aaron received a last-minute hopping reprieve from the Board of Director and was able to demo his skills on the final climb. It was too steep for him him to get rolling again, but he picked up approximately 15 feet with an exceptional effort that burned untold calories . . . Kudos to Paul Norris (bling banger), Melanie Norris (fairy princess) and Denise Livingston (Dorothy) for their top-shelf costumes . . . Great job by graphics wizard Ryan Hicks who designed the official poster of the GGCC and to Dave for handling the printing.
Complete Results – 1,750 Total Feet:
- Al Hansen – 1,534
- Bob Stanton – 1,530
- Eric Shew – 1,457
- Ryan Hicks – 1,330
- Andy Crump – 1,322
- Thomas Mueller – 1,315
- Jeep LeMonds – 1,312
- Shane Oberg – 1,228
- Jeff Muldoon – 1,210
- Rob Larsen – 1,206
- Cage Aaron – 1,172
- Mike Van Hoose – 1,167
- Aaron Althaeuser – 1,166
- Dara Muldoon – 1,147
- Randy Toney – 1,1127
- Tonya Breedlove – 1,072
- Aaron Dennis – 1,003
- Dave LeMonds – 1,001
- Marcus Faber – 977
- Erik Carlson – 934
- Miles Olin – 918
- Juntu Oberg – 904
- Paul Norris – 874
- Denise Livingston – 852
- Kevin Knorr – 818
- Chase Bryant – 818
- Greg Ogden – 727
- Melanie Norris – 718
- Samantha Loney – 633
- Mike Brady – 611
- Dan Faber – 579
- Carol Mathre – 555
- Kelley Hinkle – 532
- Morgan Gunther – 521
- Keith Gianella – 500
- Gavin Pfuhl – 443
- Robert Smith-Gillespie – 330