Saturday’s California Multisport competition made for arguably the most intense of the four Conquer the Bear events, given steep terrain for running and mountain biking under the mid-day sun which, as it turns out, was a record high for the year at 85.5 degrees. The event started with a 9K run, followed by an intense 20K bike ride, then a 4K run and—the big surprise for competitors—the “multi” in multisport this year was a ropes challenge, dubbed the “Ropes of Pain,” in which athletes had to climb up and over the finish line. Forty-some racers participated in the Multisport, which was completed in 2 hours 27 minutes by Philip Tinstman. Second place, at 2:41, went to David Dolezal of Big Bear, whose fellow Hot Shots from the San Bernardino National Forest stopped by the Big Bear Discovery Center to cheer on the racers. Third in the men’s division was won by Addy Goodvibes of Australia. In the women’s competition, Jessi Stensland of San Diego took first (and fourth overall) with 2:46; second went to Amber Naughton and, third, by mere seconds, went to Theresa Uhrig, who was on the ropes of pain alongside local Heather Devito, who had pushed hard for a strong finish in the second run and, like many of the athletes, had little left in them when they came upon the surprise ropes addition to the finish line. Still, Heather Devito’s strong finish in the Multisport, when coupled with her victory in the Snowshoe the Bear, a podium finish in the Paddlefest and a strong showing in the Team Big Bear Shoot-Out, places her on top in the women’s division of Conquer the Bear. Second-place contender is Tiffany Meyers of Redondo Beach and third is now Jasmine Kall, though local Diane Bradley powered through to tackle the ropes and stay in the running for this, the fourth of five Conquer the Bear events. Top ranked male in Conquer the Bear had been Slater Fletcher of Huntington Beach, though an ankle injury kept him from the July 18 Multisport. Local Ted Devito, referred to by Multisport organizer Paul Romero as “Teddy the Tow Truck,” now ranks first in the Conquer series, followed by Wes Barton of Manhattan Beach and local cyclist Steve Kinney. Thirteen-year-old Jordan Romero, who has also completed four of five events in the series, was the youngest contender in the Multisport, and took second in the juniors division to 17-year-old Ramon Escobar of Tecate, Mexico. The Conquer the Bear series, which started with about 25 athletes in February (and now includes about half that), will wrap with the Run the Bear Marathon on September 12.
Update as of Wednesday morning: Per Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren, Multisport organizers currently atop Mt. Rainier, the third place spot in Conquer the Bear’s women’s division actually goes to Big Bear Lake resident Diane Bradley, given the updated race tally. Congratulations, Diane!