PARK CITY Cross-country bike races are very seldom nail-biters.
But Ryan Trebon and Jeremiah Bishop put on a thrilling show in the Kenda Cross Country pro men's race at Deer Valley on Saturday afternoon.
"They are not always that tight," said Bishop, who finished second to Trebon. "Today's was exciting to watch. It was a great race."
At the end of the first lap, Trebon led, but Bishop was right with him. At the end of two laps, Bishop led by about two seconds, and he led at the end of three laps but by less than one second.
"I attacked with reckless abandon," Bishop said after finishing the 28-mile course in 2:09:26. "You've just got to go for it. You never know. I thought if I could get out of sight, out of mind, he'd slow down, but it didn't quite work that way. He was still within sight and he was used to the altitude and dry air."
Trebon, who is currently ranked 56th in the world, finished in 2:08:42. He raced on much bigger wheels than the other riders. It was the first cross-country event won by a rider on 29-inch wheels, as opposed to the customary 26-inch ones. He enjoyed the challenge of the close race, but the competition made it tougher to win the very long, hot race that took riders around the scenic Deer Valley ski area.
"It's always easier when you have a one-minute cushion," Trebon said. "But it made for good racing. ... It was a good course ... dusty and hot, really hot."
Saturday's race was the fourth of six races that attract the best mountain bike racers in the world. The race was part of a three-day event that is the fourth stop in the National Mountain Bike Series.
Geoff Kabush, the top-ranked rider in the world, finished third with a time of 2:10:11, while Andy Schultz, ranked 16th, earned his first podium finish with a time of 2:11:54.
Carl Decker earned the fifth and final podium spot with a time of 2:12:06, barely edging Andy's younger brother, Sam Schultz, who finished sixth.
The Schultz brothers swapped places in the race, with Sam leading early and Andy passing him near the end of the second lap.
"I'd much rather get beat by him than someone else," said Sam Schultz, 22.
Andy Schultz said he saw his brother in a heated battle for fifth with Carl Decker.
"It was cool to have the opportunity to ride with him for a while," said Andy. "I was rooting for him to beat Carl. ... I keyed in on this race in my training."
While many of the racers just returned from World Cup racing in Europe, Andy said he stayed home and trained for the NMBS races.
"I think that was a little fatiguing for them," he said. "My brother just got home Monday night."
Cindy Schultz fed the brothers their pre-race dinner of pasta with peanut sauce.
"It was nice to listen to them give each other a little grief about the race," she said. "They love climbing, the elevation, and they've always done well here."
Most of the racers said they love the course at Deer Valley, which started with a pretty intense climb up the mountain followed by some exciting descents."You've got to like suffering to do this sport," said Trebon. "If you don't like to suffer, then you're definitely in the wrong sport."