Town Challenge course challenges field |

Town Challenge course challenges field

Matthew Doro rides through a sunlit meadow on Emerald Mountain on Wednesday during the Quarry Mountain Cross-Country Town Challenge race in Steamboat Springs.

— A Town Challenge course designer would be hard pressed to surprise any of the bi-weekly summer mountain bike series riders’ with anything on Emerald Mountain. It’s those riders who pound the downtown-adjacent trails into a fine dust each summer, and they know it well.

Indeed, it wasn’t looks of surprise competitors broadcast Wednesday during most of the Quarry Mountain Cross-Country race, the most recent Town Challenge event. It was looks of exhaustion.

Faced with a seemingly iron-willed field of riders, Wednesday’s course designers did what they could to provide a challenge, and their success was evident. Exhausted riders streamed along the trails, through pine and aspen thickets, over rocky sections, into and out of the fading sunlight, and finally, mercifully, down and around the rodeo grandstands to the finish line.

Another sign of a course well designed was that it took even the top riders more than an hour.

That top rider was yet again Peter Kalmes, who made it five wins in a row. He’s still perfect on the season, and Wednesday helped strengthen his grip on the title of “Steamboat’s best.”

He’s had some comfortable victories along the way. This one, however, was close.

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Kalmes finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 1 second. He never truly ditched his nearest competitors, Alex Pond and Trevor Walz. They hung close behind him in the winding trails that led to the finish line, and they were there for the last, gut-wrenching sprint to the finish line.

But they couldn’t close the gap. Pond was second in 1:06:09, and Walz third at 1:06:11. The trio was nearly three minutes ahead of the next pro/open rider.

Kate Rench maintained her stranglehold on the tops women’s division. She flew through the course in 1:24:45, maintaining her own season-long winning streak.

Becky Sears was second in 1:38:21, and Kathleen Fitzsimmons was third at 1:30:26.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

For more

Find race results here.

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