Alexandera Houchin’s Record 2022 Colorado Trail Race Finish
A round of applause goes out to Alexandera Houchin, who just became the first woman to finish the 2022 Colorado Trail Race, setting a new record in the process—and doing so on a singlespeed! Find ride details and photos of Alexandera and her new Chumba at the finish line here…
Photos and interview insight by Jennaye Derge (@jennaye_d)
Congratulations to one of our favorite endurance cyclists, 32-year-old Alexandera Houchin, who just became the first woman to cross the finish line in the 527-mile 2022 Colorado Trail Race (on a singlespeed, no less!) and set a new south/west (southbound) women’s record at the same time. Alexandera rolled into Junction Creek in Durango, Colorado, just after 6:30 a.m. local time, with a finish time of 6 days, 2 hours, and 33 minutes (6d:02h:33m), coming in just an hour over her best time on the CT (6:01:34 in 2019).
Hers is an unbelievable accomplishment, considering that several riders have reported that this year has been the hardest Colorado Trail Race ever, with extraordinarily wet conditions. When asked about the conditions, Alexandera responded, “The course this year was a disaster. There was more mud and more rocks. It was all washed out. There were a couple of downed trees, and it was wet. It was the wettest I’ve experienced. I felt super soggy.”
Jennaye Derge reported from the finish line that Alexandera rolled in totally exhausted and reiterated how hard she pushed herself and how she put in every ounce of energy she had into making it to the finish line. “She didn’t have much of an appetite the entire time, or when she got there and said she still had food with her that she’d started with,” Jennaye added. “Her feet were killing her, and when she took off her shoes, it looked like she might have trench foot. She still had a huge smile on her face and was making a lot of jokes and in general, really happy to be there.”
It was a bit of a nail-biter in the women’s field this year. Katya Rakhmatulina led the race early on, with Alexandera and rookie Ana Jager in her wake. The two took the lead mid-race and remained within a handful of miles from one another before meeting up early morning on Friday in Silverton. Ana and Alexandera pedaled out of town toward Durango within an hour of each other, and Ana came within several miles of Alexandera on a couple of occasions throughout the afternoon and evening in the thick of the hypoxic San Juan Mountains. A lot of us wondered whether Ana would have an advantage on a geared bike, but Alexandera pushed hard through the night and maintained a steady lead. It appeared that neither of the two slept during the final stretch, although Ana’s dot stopped for over an hour just after Kennebec Pass, where it remained paused as Alexandera arrived about 20 miles ahead of her. Alexandera said, “I slept maybe 12 hours in total. And then I took one 10-minute and one 12-minute nap today.”
This is Alexandera’s third win in a row, with first-place finishes in the women’s category in 2019 and 2021 (the race was canceled in 2020). We first reported on Alexandera in 2018 when she came in second and attempted a yo-yo on the course, which as a matter of fact, she’s going for again this year by turning around at Junction Creek and heading back to Denver tomorrow. We’re excited to see how that goes!
Alexandera set the southbound record aboard a new Chumba Sendero Ti built up this year just before the race with our friend Ryan Santoski of Totem Cyclery (@totem.cyclery) in Denver. It features a flashy new frame bag by Dispersed and a 32 x 22 drivetrain, which is a wee bit harder than the 34 x 24 she rocked last year. She also went back to hiking boots and ran Maxxis Rekon tires front and rear.
Alexandera reported one harrowing mechanical, “Five miles in, on day one, I got a fat stick in my spoke and it slammed up against my frame and broke a spoke, bent a spoke, bent another spoke, then I flew over the handlebars. But, having three broken spokes, my wheel is still true. It’s amazing. I just rode with my wheel like that the whole way.”
Equally as impressive, this was 25-year-old Ana Jager’s rookie year on the CTR after a first-place women’s finish in the Tour Divide back in June, which was also a rookie run! Ana is having a fantastic year and is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years if she keeps this up. Congrats, Ana!
When asked about her race with Ana, Alexandera responded, “I love Ana so much. It’s not often you do something crazy with someone. I spent the whole morning with her riding on Monarch Crest, and that was really fun and chill. She’s super sweet. Then I thought ‘Okay, I’m going to try to lose her,’ and there’s that first descent at Sargents, and it’s super chunky and loose, and I love those technical enduro descents, so I just sent it. I sprinted as fast as I could so I could filter my water before Ana got there, and then I went as fast as I could to Sargents Mesa and tried to create a gap, and I did. An hour and a half maybe. [Then] I was fucking toast [and] she just flexed and hunted me the whole rest of the race. She caught me on Cataract Ridge. I got caught in the scariest storm of my life, but at that point, I was trying really hard, and I had made that hour and a half gap into around a three-hour gap, but she just kept prowling. Then we got to the gas station in Silverton at the same time. She needed to charge stuff, and I think that’s the only reason I beat her.”
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