More than 1,100 bikers race 70 miles; tandem 3 seconds behind winner
Coming around the final corner, Jame Carney took one last glance to check out his closest opponents.
The brother-sister tandem bike of Dave and Sarah Swanson was right behind him.
“These events are usually won by who gets to the last turn first,” Carney said.
He was right. Carney claimed his second Tour of Tucson Mountains title Sunday, covering the 70-mile event in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 9 seconds – three seconds ahead of the tandem. More than 1,100 bikers participated.
Carney, 40, a longtime pro cyclist who lives in Tucson, and the Swanson tandem broke away from the pack at about the 45-mile mark and worked together to stay away.
“I saw the balloons (near the finish line) and hit the tandem right before the turn and accelerated,” Carney said. “The real race was the race with the Swansons. We had to pull as hard as we could for the last 25 miles.”
Clay Murfet of Tasmania crossed the finish line after the tandem and one second ahead of the lead pack of 70-plus riders. He finished in 2:46:44.
“I knew that coming out of the last left turn it was going to be 150 meters,” said Murfet, who trained with Carney before the race. “I knew I had to be first or second going into the corner. I came in a bit hard and gave everything I had. I had a big gap, so I sat up and just rode across (the finish line).
“The plan was try to get me and Jame or six to 10 (others) in a break, and we kept hitting them and the pack didn’t come down again.
“Once we got to the front, we just relaxed and I wasn’t going to chase. We got one-two, and that was the plan. It worked out perfectly.”
Laura McCaughey (2:46:48), also from Tasmania, was the female winner and 31st overall finisher. Like Murfet, she also trained with Carney.
“It was hectic, but it was good fun,” said McCaughey, a first time participant. “There were some women floating through the pack and we settled around each other all the time. After the first hour or so, the attacks started coming. I thought if I could hang with the main group there, I would do all right.”
Dave and Sarah Swanson worked their way through the pack to hook up with Carney.
“We knew we were the lead tandem when we made the attack off the front,” said Dave Swanson, the captain of the duo. “We were marking wheels and we worked hard to chase (duo Evan Unger/Dwight Nelson) a little bit. We counterattacked and got ahead with Carney about 25 miles from the end.”
David Murray finished the 27-mile race in 1:09:53. Randi Najac was the first women finisher in shorter event at 1:15:09.
1. Jame Carney, Tucson 2:46.09
2. David-Sarah Swanson*, Tucson 2:46.12
4. Clay Murfet, Tasmania 2:46.44
5. Jay Koesters, Tucson 2:46.45
6. Jeff Francone, Tucson 2:46.45
* Tandem; counts for two places
1. David Murray, Phoenix 1:09.53
2. Lawrence Knight, Oro Valley 1:09.54
3. Jason Dannettel, Tucson 1:09.54
4. Henry Novell Jr., McAllen, Texas 1:09.55
5. Jose Font, El Paso, Texas 1:10.03