TINKER SCHOOLS ‘EM AT MT. SAC
NOV. 3, 2013, WALNUT, Calif.
Words and images by Phil
Mountain bike racing legend David
“Tinker” Juarez taught the kids a thing or two at the Mt. SAC Fat
Tire Classic presented by SC Velo. If class had been in session, he
would have been the dignified man at the board in the front of the
room wearing a bow tie and tweed jacket with leather on the elbows,
holding an unlit cherrywood pipe in one hand and a piece of chalk in
the other. “And this, students, is your lesson for today.” If,
that is, professors had dreadlocks.
Five blazing fast laps put Tinker
Juarez well in front of the Pro Men’s field.
The Fat Tire Classic has been taking
place on the grounds of Mt. San Antonio College for some 22 years,
making it one of the longest-running races in the sport. For an
“off-season” event, a respectable turnout of 164 athletes took to
the six-mile course featuring two steep climbs, one harrowing descent
and two tunnels per lap. Their eyes were on the prize of beautiful
brushed-steel trophies handcrafted by the Mt. SAC Welding Dept. Some
came to bring closure to their three-race Triple Crown Series
campaign as well.
It would have been a surprise had
Juarez not dominated this year’s Fat Tire Classic, which was
held under ideal racing conditions. Riding for powerhouse Team
Sho-Air/Cannondale, Juarez is a multi-time cross-country champion, a
two-time Olympian and a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
since 2001. These days he’s nearly unbeatable in ultra-endurance
Juarez shot out to an immediate lead in
the Pro Men’s field and slammed out five laps in just 1:46:35.
Finishing runner-up nearly nine minutes later was Alfred Pacheco
(Buena Park Bicycles), while Chris Heinrich (The Path Bike Shop)
rounded out the podium in third. Pacheco’s performance was strong
enough to clinch the overall Triple Crown Series title.
Pro Men’s winner Tinker Juarez is
flanked by second-place Alfred Pacheco and third-place Chris
Alfred Pacheco got to wear some
appropriate headgear for a Triple Crown Series champion.
We can thank Suzy Degazon and her
husband Al for yet another fun Fat Tire Classic.
Unique, handcrafted trophies are
created right on the Mt. San Antonio College campus.
The post-race raffle/swagfest is
unequaled at this family-friendly event.
Nancy James claimed the Pro Women’s
win at the 2013 Fat Tire Classic.
Nancy James was in a class of her own
at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic—literally. She was the only Pro
Woman to participate. Sadly, no Pro Women completed the three events
needed to qualify for Triple Crown honors. So instead we’ll give a
tip of the helmet visor to Shannon Vandevelde, who captured all three
races in the Expert Women Open division.
For full results and more, visit
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