Riding through the break of Dawn

Teacher from Coloma, young Wilder take Coolest 24 crowns
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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COOL — Given what she endured at year ago at the Coolest Mountain Bike Race, a mud-covered Dawn Infurna-Bean wasn’t about to complain as she basked in the sun Sunday afternoon. But her latest victory at the grueling event did take its toll on the former ultrarunner from Coloma. Infurna-Bean outlasted a talented women’s field to circle the 12.6-mile loop 16 times between noon Saturday and noon on Sunday. Last year’s race was contested in an almost non-stop downpour and she completed just three laps. This year’s conditions were much better, but still punishing. Infurna-Bean took a spill in the mud and wasn’t feeling her normal endless energy, but that hardly slowed her down. “My goal was 17 laps and obviously I wanted to win, and I did, but I just felt terrible the whole time,” the 42-year-old Infurna-Bean said. “My knees hurt, and I just felt old. I felt my age. I just like to feel good, feel happy the whole time and maybe if you lay it all out there and you don’t leave anything, you can’t feel that way.” Dez Wilder found himself in a familiar position after he surrendered his title to mountain biking legend Tinker Juarez in 2009. Wilder completed 21 laps and was able to lounge under a tent as the clock expired at noon on Sunday. After covering an incredible 264.6 miles to win his third Coolest 24 title, Wilder was all smiles. “This is like my hometown course, so it’s good to be back here and have a good day with nice weather, “ said Wilder, who grew up near Sacramento but now lives in San Diego. “It wasn’t raining, but it was still wet and really muddy. You definitely had to be on your toes. I managed to stay upright the whole race, which I was pretty stoked about.” In a thrilling 8-hour solo competition on Saturday, Glen Fant completed eight laps to claim victory in the men’s open division. Todd Richardson also completed eight laps to win the men’s solo single-speed division. Auburn’s Doug Martin, who suffered a heart attack in February, completed six laps in the men’s eight-hour singlespeed division. Infurna-Bean, who teaches seventh grade English at Springview Middle School in Rocklin, teamed up with Louise Kobin. She won the notoriously tough Cascade Cream Puff race in Oregon last summer. Both women raced for the Global Biorhythm team organized by race director Jim Northey. Kobin completed seven laps to win the women’s eight-hour solo crown on Saturday. The event raised thousands of dollars for the Livestrong Foundation. It is organized by Auburn’s Northey in remembrance of cancer victim Bryce Clark. Wilder, 23, plans to return to Northern California for several more races later this year, including the Tahoe-Sierra 100 in September. He’s also planning to compete in the Furnace Creek 508 — an October road race that covers 508 miles through Death Valley. The youngster was happy to pick up another victory on a course he’s come to love. “There’s a lap or two wear you swear you’re going to quit and then a couple laps later you totally forget about it and you feel like you can ride forever,” Wilder said. “That’s just the way it goes. You have some tough laps and you push through and it gets better.” For more information, visit