Steamboat Springs With a criterium and a hill climb already in the books this summer, the Town Challenge mountain bike series will host a key cross-country race Wednesday at Howelsen Hill.
"Things are pretty tight, especially in the expert women's class," race director Gretchen Sehler said.
In that class, Alisha Engle holds a slim one-point lead over Sarah Fisher with 33 points. Fisher has 32 points and is being chased by third-place racer Amy Harris with 29.
Likewise, the men's expert class will be tight headed into the third race of the series.
Ian Pritchard holds a three-point lead over Doug Demusz, who has 32 points for the season. Barkley Robinson is in third place with 27 points.
This week's course will weave together many single tracks on Emerald Mountain. The race will use one large lap for the expert classes and sport men and a slightly smaller lap for the sport women and all novice riders.
Sehler is advising competitors to pre-ride the course early this week in an effort to learn the course before the race. Maps are available at Parks and Recreational services department or at Sore Sore Saddle Cyclery located downtown off of Yampa Street.
The race will start at 6 p.m. with minute intervals between the different classes.
The start will be at the base of the ski jumps and finish behind the old grandstands of the rodeo grounds.
Racers are urged to preregister at Parks and Recreational Services Department before noon on Wednesday or at the race start at Howelsen Hill from 5:00 to 5:45.
People interested in registering early need to stop by the parks and rec offices today or early Wednesday, as the offices will be closed on Tuesday in observation of Independence Day.
Other tight races include the men's expert veteran class, where Jamie Morgan and J.R. Thompson are tied for the lead with 37 points each. Things are also tight in the men's expert masters, where at 37 points, Dan Chovan holds a slim lead over Mark Sehler at 35 points.
"Things are starting to heat up in several of the classes," Sehler said. "It always does this time of year."