A pair of veteran Rim country cyclists will be battling for Mountain Bike Association of Arizona state championship honors May 21 at the Fort Valley Finale near Flagstaff.
Both Wayne Gorry and Ken Shepherd are locked in tight battles for age/skill division MBAA gold medal laurels.
Competing in the Expert Men's 50-years-plus group, Gorry needs a win at Flagstaff to out-pedal Steve Becker of Prescott for the state title.
Shepherd, competing in the Sport Men 45-49-years division, must also win at Flagstaff to have a shot at his first MBAA crown.
According to Gorry, also for Shepherd to win the state crown, his nearest competitor -- Joe Lozon of Litchfield Park --ust finish third or worse in Flagstaff.
"I'm just going to go out there and do my best to see what happens," Shepherd said. "It would be pretty cool though if Payson could have two state champions."
According to Gorry, the keys to winning will be to avoid any accidents or mechanical failures.
"If either one of those things happens we could be out," he said.
The state finals mark the culmination of the MBAA seven-race series that began Jan. 8 at the McDowell Meltdown near Phoenix and included the April 2 Payson Pounder.
At the No. 6 MBAA race, the Prescott Punisher held April 23, both Gorry and Shepherd peddled their way to first place finishes.
Shepherd won the Sport Mens class out-pacing his nearest competitor by 36 seconds. The victory was his third consecutive in the MBAA series.
Gorry edged the second place finisher in the Expert Men Division by five seconds.
Also participating in the race was 11-year-old Julia Randall Elementary School student Cypress Gorry. The youngster finished third in the 12-years-and-under division about five minutes behind the champion.
According to Wayne Gorry, the race course in Prescott consisted of three 7-mile laps with about a 100 foot climb on each lap.
"The surface was decomposed granite much like we have in Payson," he said. "I think we had kind of a home court advantage because we are used to riding on it.