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June 17, 2013

Grad student makes grade on Whiteface

WILMINGTON — Cameron Cogburn, of Ashville, N.C., has vacationed in the Adirondack region and he’s even won two road cycling races up Whiteface Mountain. But this was the first time he tried mountain biking.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student looked just as comfortable on a mountain bike as he does on a road cycle when he raced away to a first-place finish during Sunday’s third-annual Wilmington Whiteface 100K (WW100).

Cogburn and 10 other cyclists spent most of the first half of the race together, before he broke away and completed the 69-mile event and Leadville 100 MTB qualifier (LT100) in four hours, six minutes, 21.20 seconds.

“The course played to my strengths, I got away from the field at about the half-way point, coming through the ‘feed zone.’” said Cogburn. “All the guys stopped, I didn’t have a drop, so I had all of my stuff and I just kept going. I killed it up the hill and tried to hold it from there.”

Since so many hills make up the course, the WW100 is regarded as one of the toughest Leadville Series qualifying events. Beginning and ending at Whiteface Mountain, cyclists endure jeep and gravel roads and back country trails through Wilmington, Jay, Keene, Lewis and Elizabethtown, as well as climbs that measure more than 750 meters each. All of this before two, three-mile finishing loops and a pair of 350 foot climbs at Whiteface, ahead of the finish line.

Being from Ashville, Cogburn felt right at home on the WW100 hills. “I just tried to get away on the big hill coming back,” he noted. “I lost some time on the single-track sections, so I didn’t want to leave it until the very end. I knew that the final hill at Whiteface was steep, but it wasn’t long, and I knew that I wanted to build a couple of minutes coming in. So when I came out of the second to last single-track section, I was told I had eight minutes, I knew that I was in good position.”

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