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Ruth Edwards (née Winder) won the pro women’s division of the Life Time Chequamegon MTB Festival presented by Trek in northern Wisconsin on Saturday.
Edwards thrust a front wheel across the finish line and grabbed a narrow victory over Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz Bicycles). Sofia Gomez Villafane (Specialized) placed third.
The top three riders in Cable, Wisconsin also completed the current podium for the Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda, as the 40-mile Chequamegon MTB event was the fifth in the seven-race series. With the victory, Edwards moved two position to third overall in the series, with Skarda second. Having won the first four races, Villafane all but remained in the lead and just needs to finish the final at Big Sugar Gravel in October to take the title.
Hannah Otto pushed the pace early in the race with a large group of more than 20 women staying together through the first 11 miles. By the half-way points, Edwards and Skarda had made separation at the front with Jenna Rinehart.
Eventually, Edwards and Rinehart pushed ahead by 2 minutes and left the Minnesota rider behind. Rinehart joined forces with Villafane in a group of six riders, which included Haley Smith, Gabriela Guerra and Deanna Mayles, from which Villafane won the sprint for third.
Edwards did not finish Unbound Gravel 200, but among the Life Time Grand Prix competitors was sixth at Crusher in the Tushar and took second-place points at Leadville 100 MTB behind winner Villafane.
Of the off-road races in the Grand Prix, Chequamegon MTB Festival is the final of three mountain bike competitions on the calendar. The 40-mile point-to-point course, which began in Hayward and ended in Cable, followed parts of the famed American Birkie Cross-country Ski Trail across forest roads and snowmobile trails with short, punchy climbs. The mountain bike event celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Last year Edwards finished 13th in Wisconsin, well behind winner Savilia Blunk, with the top Grand Prix athlete, Rose Grant, second overall.
The next stop in the Life Time Grand Prix is The Rad Dirt Fest presented by Wahoo, a 110-mile gravel grinder in Trinidad, Colorado on September…