Powlison claims Carson City Off-Road 50-miler | NevadaAppeal.com

Powlison claims Carson City Off-Road 50-miler

Darrell Moody
Spencer Powlison crosses the finish line to win the Capital 50 Backcountry Ride on Saturday.
Adam Trumble / Nevada Appeal

For the second straight year, the Carson City Off-Road event had a celebrity in its midst.

Last year, it was Lance Armstrong, and Saturday it was Levi Leipheimer, who now resides in Healdsburg, California.

Leipheimer, a three-time winner of the Tour of California as well as a time trial winner at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was suspended in 2012 for doping violations. It was his second offense. He had a doping violation in 1996, too.

Race officials kept announcing to the spectators gathered around the state government buildings that the former pro racer was seven or eight minutes ahead of the field Carson City Off-Road 50-mile race, and it was assumed that he would be an easy winner.

So, it was a bit of surprise when 34-year-old Boulder, Colorado resident Spencer Powlison (4:06.02) finished .47 seconds ahead of Daniel Munoz. Leipheimer would eventually finish the race around a minute later.

According to Zoe Laffreda, PR person for Epic Rides, Leipheimer stopped at the final aid station and let many other riders pass him. He eventually finished the race in 25th place.

Powlison, Munoz and third-place finisher Mike Donahue (4:08.36) all said they never saw Leipheimer during the race. That makes sense if the announcements were correct and he was that far ahead. The trio guessed maybe he’d dropped out due to mechanical issues.

Leipheimer was not available for comment after the race.

The 34-year-old Powlison is wearing two hats at this weekend’s race. He also doubles as a writer for VeloNews, his sponsor. He has been a full-time reporter there for four years, and he is able to write about biking events from a different perspective.

So far, it’s been a pretty good weekend for Powlison the rider.

Powlison the writer? We won’t know until the next edition of VeloNews comes out.

“I never went to school (for journalism) for it, but my dad was an English teacher, so I was getting edited,” he said after outlasting Munoz and Donahue to win the third annual Carson City Off-Road 50-miler. “I like to write. I’ve always written.”

The 34-year-old Powlison, who has been riding competitively since he was 12 or 13, said he gave up pro racing about 10 years ago because he likes to dabble in different types of races.

Powlison said the race, for him, started to change around Ash Canyon, and he took control around the Tahoe Rim Trail.

“The group(s) split up around Ash Canyon,” Powlison said. “I was able to catch the second group before the Flume Trail. People were telling me he was five or six minutes ahead, but I never saw him.”

Munoz said it took a lot to stay back early on. He said that Donahue, who he was riding with at the time, cautioned him to stay at the same pace.

“I wanted to go faster,” Munoz said. “I’m glad I didn’t.”

Eric Chizum of Hailey, Idaho was fourth in 4:11.28 and Brian Gordon was fifth in 4:12.12. A pair of 17-year-olds — Julian Lepelch and Truman Glasgow — were sixth and seventh in 4;13.04 and 4:13.58, respectively.


Ciro Zarate, 34, captured the Capital 35 in 3 hours 32 minutes and 9 seconds, outlasting Sean Hahn, 50, by a shade over 10 seconds. Cole Cherpak, a 29-year-old from Soquel, California, was third in 3:42.06.

Two Reno riders — 44-year-old Brian Wallace (3:48.03) and 16-year-old Reid Indart (3:48.08) — were fourth and fifth, respectively. Carson City’s Chad Turner was sixth in 3:49.55.

Lucas Miers, 15, was seventh in 3:54.36 and 47-year-old Cary Shales was eighth in 3:57.04. Tommy Stapley was ninth in 3:58.23 and Julie Baker was the top female racer, finishing 10th in 4:00.21.

For complete results, go to epicrides.com, click on Carson City Off-Road and then click on the results tab on the left side of the page.