Eli Orth, a 1991 Hillsboro High School graduate, will be traveling to Panama for an internationally sanctioned coast-to-coast mountain biking event, The Cruce Del Istmo.
Orth received a sponsored invitation to represent the United States as 2019 National Ultra Endurance Single Speed champion and 2021 National Ultra Endurance Single Speed runner-up. The year in between, 2020, was a write off due to COVID-19.
“My 2021 National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Single Speed Bike Race Series wrapped up with the Marji Gesick 100 in Marquette, Michigan, finishing third, allowing me to clinch a second place finish for the year. (It was a) fun but brutal course that had over 14,000 feet of climbing over the 105-mile course. It was a great warmup for what’s ahead in Panama at The Cruce Del Istmo,” Orth said.
Attracting top riders from around the globe, The Cruce Del Istmo is world class all the way. At 68 miles in length with 3,100 feet of elevation gain it’s not the longest or steepest track. However, that’s more than made up for with a technical difficulty ranking at the highest level. Del Istmo delivers punishing blows with short steep climbs that just keep coming at you in a jungle setting.
Single speed cycling is a class of it’s own with no age brackets. Less than 2 percent of NUE MTB cyclists ride single speed. It requires lightning quick cadence and perseverance beyond compare. The psychological preparation is critical as the stress on mind and body is over the top. More than one race has been lost due to confusion, taking a wrong turn or simply exceeding one’s limits, a news release said.
Orth said he attributes his success to rigid physical conditioning, mental awareness and the support of family and friends.
Information for this story was submitted by Tim Koehl.