MBA October 1994
      CINDY WHITEHEAD        
SEATLESS IN THE SIERRAS

Cindy Whitehead earned a permanent place in the "no way" record books in ´87. Three weeks before the ´87 Sierra 7500 mountain bike race in Bishop, California, Cindy had broken Jacquie Phelan´s multi-year winning streak. The grueling Sierra 7500 was to be a showdown between the two ace woman. The veteran and the new kid ! The Sierra 7500 was a 50-mile race with over 7500 feet of high-altitude climbs and nothing that could really be called a descent (at least not fun one). Cindy wanted to win the Sierra 7500 to prove that her win was not a fluke. Jacquie needed to beat Cindy to prove that it was. You could have cut the tension with a knife (but the air was to thin). There was a lot of talk before the race about who was the best - there would never be any doubt after the event. Jacquie Phelan took off at the beginning of the race like a shot and built up a good lead. Jacquie´s plan was to lead to the snow line and force Cindy to chase and hopefully blow. Things were not looking good for Cindy. One mile into the race

Cindy´s seatpost micro-adjust broke, and the saddle fell off her Klein bicycle. A normal human being would have turned around and coasted back to the starting line. Not Cindy ! This was not going to be an easy race, and in historical terms it was probably the last really epic mountain bike race in terms of distance,
altitude and terrain. Rather than giving up, seatless Cindy pushed even harder.

Cult status: People still talk today about Cindy´s seatless victory in the ´87 Sierra 7500. Even without a seat Cindy finished 20 minutes ahead of the pack, which included Jacquie Phelan. Twenty minutes ahead and no seat ? This victory ensured Cindy a place in mountain bike history. Amazing ! Two careers in one: Cindy Whitehead represents the first generation of fat-tire flying females who could bike-handle with the best on the descents and power the uphills mercilessly. After a stellar cross-country career Cindy switched to full-time downhill and scorches to this day.

No one could believe it. Cindy hammered through the White Mountains of Bishop with a bare seatpost sticking up. She couldn´t sit. She couldn´t rest. She couldn´t get the seatpost out.

She elected to make the best of it. At the snow line Cindy Whitehead caught Jacquie Phelan. No saet. No mercy. She dropped the ex-champion on the next climb (out-of-the-saddle-climbing) and

just like in a Hollywood movie, Cindy went on the finish a full 20 minutes ahead of Jacquie. Cindy crossed the finish line with a smile on her face and a place in mountain bike history.

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