Local team leads way in grueling bike race

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— After crossing the finish line of the 24 hours of the Moab Mountain Bike Race on Sunday afternoon, Steamboat Springs mountain bike racer Robert Ames fell to the ground, overcome with exhaustion.
His feet were still clipped into the pedals of his mountain bike as a large group of supporters, including his team and members of several other local teams, came up to congratulate him.
"The whole idea when we went down there was to have some fun and ride as hard as we could," Ames said of his team, Tour the Peaks.
When the race came to an end, Ames' team was just 1 minute, 45 seconds off the winning pace, and his demeanor was all the evidence anyone needed to prove that his team had ridden hard.
The five-person team included Ames, Amy Brown and Marc Sehler. Circ Toepel of Littleton and Vic Marlow of California completed the ranks. The local group finished second out of the 104 teams in the open division. More than 250 teams took part in the 24-hour event held in the Behind the Rocks Road area.
"I left it all out there," Ames said. "After the race, I couldn't get off of my bike. I couldn't unclip and fell to the ground."
The local team had completed 18 laps around the course through areas with names such as Nose Dive Hill, Prostitute Butte and Behind the Rocks Trail. The Tour the Peaks team had started the final lap about 10 minutes behind the leaders. The race began Oct. 14 at noon and no teams were allowed to start another lap after noon on Oct. 15. The Steamboat team started its final lap at 11:25 a.m.
Ames said he was happy with the way the team finished and credited mechanic Chris Johns for much of his team's success.
"We didn't have a mechanical the whole time, and it made a big difference," Ames said.
Johns, owner of Wheels Bike Shop, worked with several of the local teams in Moab. He was praised by all of them.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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