Schouten slays the Red Earth Beast bike race

By RYAN SPITZA

Journal Sports Writer

NEGAUNEE — Roughly 145 participants embarked at Jackson Mine Park in downtown Negaunee Saturday morning for the sixth annual Red Earth Classic mountain bike and trail running race.

The main event of the day was the Beast mountain bike race, a 32-miler that challenged riders on a winding course through trails in Negaunee, Ishpeming and everything in-between.

27 riders registered for the Beast race, which began at 9 a.m. Tristan Schouten of Plymouth (Wis.) crossed the line first to claim the overall victory with a time of 2:31:13. Sarah Kylander-Johnson out of Duluth (Minn.) was the first female to cross the line with a time of 2:53:35.

Schouten said technical changes to this year’s course made the race fun for him.

“They added a lot of singletrack this year,” he said. “A lot of really technical, new, rocky singletrack and it was really fun.”

Schouten defeated second-place finisher Adam Swank from Duluth by almost four-and-a-half minutes and said he created that gap just beyond the halfway mark on an elevation change in Ishpeming.

“I ran with two guys for more than half the race,” he said. “Near Ishpeming, on the other end of town, there was a really steep climb by the railroad tracks and they bobbled a little bit and I got a little gap. It was getting later in the race and those guys are getting tired, so you kind of just end up riding your own pace from there and whatever energy you’ve got, that’s what you use.”

Swank had a time of 2:35:40 while Scott Kylander-Johnson also from Duluth rounded out the podium at 2:36.58.

Despite a challenging, technical course with roots, rocks and several elevation changes, the biggest obstacle for Scott Kylander-Johnson weren’t any of those.

Instead, he encountered some horses.

“There were at least three of them,” he said. “They were up on their hind legs, I had to stop and put my bike in front of me. It was a little scary.”

Other than the unexpected and humorous encounter, Kylander-Johnson said the trail was perfect.

“It was great,” he said. “I love it out here.”

As for Kylander-Johnson’s wife Sarah, she took the female crown as previously stated beating out Andrea Newby of Hurley (Wis.) at 4:15:25 and Sonny Klipp of Janesville (Wis.) at 4:32:01.

Kylander-Johnson said she enjoyed the technicality of the course.

“The course was really hard,” she said.

“A lot of tough climbing, a lot of rocks and roots, but I liked that and I liked it all. It was a really great course.”

The first local finishers in the 32-miler were Brice Sturmer of Marquette, who finished eighth on the male side with a time of 3:10:43. Avery Evans of Ishpeming finished fourth in the female division at 4:46:08.

Other biking events of the day included the 20-mile Loader race and 12-mile Doxer race.

Kirk Harger of Munising finished first overall in the 20-miler clocking in at 1:27:34. Mike Paternoster finished second while Marquette’s Jim Argeropoulos finished third. The female side saw Bethany Aebli of downstate Grand Haven come in with a time of 1:41:39. Marquette’s Emma Stahl was second, while Rhonda Lassila of Wetmore finished third.

Lucas Basal of Marquette came home first overall in the 12-miler, while Meilee Evans of Ishpeming took the female title.

The running events of the day included a half-marathon, 5K and 10K, as well as a 5K walk.

Tyler Gauthier won the half-marathon with a time of 1:04.53. The 10K’s only entrant, Ericka Asmus of Marquette, earned a time of 1:12:46. Harger won the 5K run while no entrants were recorded for the 5k walk.

Kids biking and running races were also held.

Race co-organizer Justin Koski called the event a success and no issues on the course were reported.

“We had a really smooth, safe morning,” he said. “We’ve had no problems. It’s a challenging course, especially the 32-miler. We had a lot of people doing it just to sort of complete it, not necessarily be the first to complete it.

“Thanks to Eagle Mine, U.P. Engineers and Architects and all of our sponsors and volunteers.”

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.

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