For the Defenders, it wasn't the hot desert sun, dust storms, rain, hail, snow or howling winds that prevented the Baltimore-based pro squad from winning the grueling 24 Hours of Moab team relay mountain bike race on Sunday.
After all, local racers Roger Bird, Brad Erickson, David Duvall and Floyd Landis led the race for its first 18 hours -- and through a storm that swept the Utah desert before dawn -- before seeing their lead slip away as the sun rose over the mountains of eastern Utah.
Instead, it was a powerhouse Schwinn team led by two mountain biking superstars: 1988 world mountain bike champion Mike Kloser and Ranjeet Grewal, third-place finisher at this year's World Cup cross country race.
The Colorado-based squad won after completing 21 laps on the 13-mile course. The Defenders finished second with 20 laps.
More than 120 four- and five-person teams entered the noon-to-noon event, in which each squad puts one rider on the course while teammates eat and rest.