Storm Peak awaits Town Challenge riders in Steamboat |

Storm Peak awaits Town Challenge riders in Steamboat

Town Challenge race starts at base of the Thunderhead Express chairlift

— After years of organizing local mountain bike races, Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series Director Gretchen Sehler knows a good challenge, and this week will present one for local riders.

Wednesday's Storm Peak Challenge Hill Climb will test competitors with more than 3,000 vertical feet in seven miles of riding from the bottom of Mount Werner to its top.

Sehler said the top riders are going to be pushed from the start at the Thunderhead Express chairlift to the summit of Storm Peak in the only hill climb of the season for the local series.

"It seems like if we give the riders in Steamboat Springs something hard to do they normally love it," Sehler said Monday.

Wednesday's race, the fifth in the seven-race Town Challenge Series, begins at the base of the Thunderhead lift at 6 p.m. The pro and expert classes will head up Zig Zag to the top of the gondola. Once there, the course will turn left onto Elkhead to the Rainbow Saddle and up the Four Points road. Racers will turn right onto Sunshine to the intersection of Cathy's, then left up Pete's Wicked Trail before finishing at the top of the Storm Peak chairlift.

"It's quite a climb," Sehler said. "While the grade on this course may be a little steeper than some of the hill climbs we've done in the past, I feel more comfortable with this course."

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Sehler said the race was designed to replace the old Buffalo Pass Hill Climb on Routt County Road 38. She said the course for the Storm Peak Challenge takes riders off road, where there are no traffic concerns.

The event also includes a more forgiving course for the sport, youth and novice classes. That course also will start at the bottom of Thunderhead Express and go up Zig Zag to the top of the gondola. From there, riders will turn left and take Elkhead to the Rainbow Saddle where it will split onto a different course. Riders will bear right onto the Duster Road and follow that road to a finish at Rendezvous Saddle.

Riders are encouraged to register for the race early at the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department offices by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Racers also can register at until midnight. The cost is $20 for adult divisions and $10 for youth divisions. Registration will be available at the race start Wednesday but will cost riders an additional $10.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email

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