Downhill race a hit on trails at Steamboat Ski Area |

Downhill race a hit on trails at Steamboat Ski Area

Luke Graham

Joe Love rides down the trail during the second annual Steamboat Springs Bike Summit downhill race. Love finished two runs in a combined 7 minutes and 56 seconds for 12th place.

— James Koch had to go to his security blanket only four or five times. 

But in between, he tore up, around, down and all over the second annual Steamboat Springs Bike Summit downhill race. 

Koch, who regularly rides the Bucking Bronco trail at Steamboat Ski Area, defeated the field Sunday, finishing with a two-run combined time of 7 minutes, 16 seconds. Tony Achilli was second in the men's category, finishing in 7:26.1, while Greg Jansen was third in 7:26.7. 

"It was just a light little tap," Koch said about using his brakes. 

Of course for the casual viewer Sunday, riding the brakes would seem acceptable. The race, which was moved from Creekside to the new downhill trails because of logging, brought together 28 downhill riders for a glimpse of what the ski area has planned for future summers. Wooden features, jumps, swooping terrain and turns highlighted the course.

The event included two runs. On the first, riders had their chains; on the second, they went at it chainless. 

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"I felt more comfortable on the chainless run," Koch said. "I'm happier coasting. You definitely have to try to be smooth and not hit your brakes too much. It's all being smooth and maintaining your speed."

For most riders, it seemed the top section of swooping turns was where the race was won. 

With the course still in its infancy, parts of the bottom section didn't have the free-flowing feel of the upper parts. This forced riders to use their brakes more. 

"Strategic braking," said Liana Gregory, whose two-run time of 8:08.6 was tops in the women's category. "I think I probably did better at the top section. The jumps, I'm still learning those at the bottom, so it was just going as fast as I could at the top and not using my brakes."

Mindy Mulliken was the second women's finisher in 8:23.9, and Kristi Bernitt was third in 8:30.

Berin Klanter was the top junior in 10:37.3, and Cade Klanter was second in 12:35.9. 

"We wanted to showcase the mountain's new trails," organizer Cory Prager said. "To have one lap chainless is really fun. I knew it would be a big hit and everyone seemed happy. It was fantastic."


Two run combined times


1 James Koch 07:16.0

2 Tony Achilli 07:26.1

3 Greg Jansen 07:26.7

4 Ned Kajko 07:37.0

5 Geoff Hollister 07:38.7

6 Mike Falzone 07:43.7

7 Clay Shrader 07:46.3

8 Max Scringeok 07:47.4

9 Todd Dills 07:49.7

10 Gerry Verdoner 07:52.2

11 Alex King 07:52.5

12 Joe Love 07:56.0

13 Daques McCann 07:57.2

14 Pete Normand 08:03.3

15 Gavin Gibson 08:05.5

16 Josh Westfall 08:12.1

17 Ross Kirby 08:15.8

18 San Harrelson 08:18.3

19 Chris Reed 08:40.3

20 Eric Schankeman 08:53.8

21 Keith Derrickson 44:50.0


1 Liana Gregory 08:08.6

2 Mindy Mulliken 08:23.9

3 Kristi Bernitt 08:30.0

4 Julie Mcllvain 09:16.7

5 Micheale Koch 09:19.8


1 Berin Klanter 10:37.3

2 Cade Klanter 12:35.9

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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