CMU 50 - Mountainbiker Lozano upsets established guard
The 2nd edition of the Cordillera Mountain Ultra in Dalupirip, Benguet, Philippines, saw the first big surprise win of the season when Arnold Lozano - an established local mountainbiker - left everyone of a strong field in his wake. Lozano finished together with last year's winner Marcelino Sano-Oy, but only because he wanted to. The organisers did not accept a tie, and awarded the victory to Lozano as he was ahead at the latest checkpoints as well. Lozano is more known as a mountainbiker, having won a.o. the Cordillera Challenge already, as well as having competed in the Genghis Khan MTB Adventure in China's Inner Mongolia region. Clearly, he is multi-talented, and if he can win Cordillera Mountain Ultra against a strong line-up of runners, what more can we expect from the man?
Both Lozano and Sano-Oy set a blistering pace across Mount Ugo and broke last year's winning time by half an hour. This was emphasized even more by third-placed Al Telias, who in the previous edition was competing with Sano-Oy for the race victory and now had to concede 27 minutes. Telias did very well himself, however, to stay ahead of other class acts such as Gaspard Dessy, Grandmaster Jan Nilsen and his brother James Telias. Dessy finished 52 minutes behind Lozano and Sano-Oy in fourth place and claims the points lead in the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship. The Indonesia-based Belgian also finished third in Tahura Trail and Coast To Coast Night Trail, and is the first male protagonist to finish three ATM points races this season. Dessy will see his name at the top of the standings until April at least, as Q1 has come to an end and the next race is scheduled only on 1/2 April in China.
Shortly behind Dessy a duo arrived back in Dalupirip: Grandmaster Jan Nilsen and first woman Sandi Menchi. Nilsen still struggled with his foot injury and probably finds 50 km too short as well to compete with his younger competitors. Still, fifth is a good result. Menchi of course delivered more than what many had promised earlier. Previously mainly running shorter distances of events, CMU was the second time she went for the top prize in a big race after CM 50 Ultra last November. Menchi not only managed to come home a joint fifth overall together with Nilsen, but she was also 45 minutes faster than last year's winner Gretchen Felipe, who in turn did well by staying ahead of Majo Liao, proving that last year's victory was no fluke at all. The Philippines have a very strong trio of trail runners up in Luzon: all three podium placers managed to finish in the top 10 overall! To note also is the 11th place of multi-race runner Cheryl Bihag, by which she claims the current second place in the ATM championship ranking with 3 points results already under her belt this season.
Jael Wenceslao and Aldean Lim finished sixth and seventh in the men's, and Grandmaster Capili was eighth, putting him firmly in the top 10 of the ranking as well. James Telias, another pre-race favourite, suffered from stomach cramps and could not defend his chances. It was indeed a very hot day on and around Mt Ugo, which gave all participants an additional difficulty to cope with.