Fantastic firsts

Cool Mountain Bike Race marks the unofficial start of the racing season
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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COOL — Perhaps it was the mud in her eyes or just sheer exhaustion, but Athena Kraus wasn’t sure if she was the first professional across the finish line Sunday at the Cool Mountain Bike Race. The El Cerrito resident wound up second in her first race as a pro, overcoming the demanding climbs and slick downhill sections to finish behind Coloma's Jamie Stamps, who finished two 10-mile laps in 1 hour, 44 minutes. “It was a lot of fun,” Kraus said. The men’s pro class race was a bit tighter, but Jim Hewett of Fairfax found some breathing room over the final 10 miles to win the 30-mile trek. “I was all alone on the last lap,” Hewett said. “The conditions actually weren’t that bad. It was really good for the first lap.” Hewett, a first-year pro who works at Summit Bicycles in the Bay Area, said he was looking forward to testing himself against the strong professional field that Cool always attracts. “This is one of the first race of the year where you know there will be some fast guys coming out,” he said. Folsom resident Chris Schulzer took first place in the men’s 35-and-over singlespeed division. He said this year’s slight changes in the course were to his liking. “I’ve got to give props to Sean (Allen),” he said. “They mixed it up a little this year and there was more climbing, which is always fine with me.”