Steamboat Springs Rain may have put a damper on the Sept. 8 Buffalo Pass hill climb, but it couldn't slow competitor Sara Fisher, who stole the show with a first-place finish for the season.
Fisher, first in the women's expert division, won a race that was shortened significantly due to rainy weather. Fisher topped rider Megan Morgan for the season, whom she was tied with entering the finale of the Town Challenge series. Morgan did not compete in the final race.
Overall category winners and their point totals in the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series: Men's expert 1, Ian Prichard - 124; 2, Doug Demusz - 111; 3, Barkley Robinson -92. Women's expert 1, Sara Fisher - 115; 2, Megan Morgan - 95; 3, Sally Cariveau - 91. Men's expert vet 1, Jamie Morgan - 117; 2, Brian Hannon - 116; 3, Patrick West - 96. Men's expert master 1, Marc Sehler - 137; 2, Dan Chovan - 125; 3, Robert Ames - 104. Men's sport 1, Ande Hirst - 109; 2, David Eiland - 93; 2, Mark Iverson - 90. Men's sport vet 1, Wayne Ranieri - 120; 2, Ron Famigletti - 115; 3, Chuck O'Connell - 96. Men's sport master 1, Roger Watson - 122; 2, David Dunlop - 121; 3, Craig MacDonald -100. Women's sport 1, Liz Rostermudt - 140; 2, Renee Nowicki - 117; 3, Steph Offen - 91. Women's sport vet 1, Kathy Thayer - 123; 2, Deb Jones - 93; 3, Brenda Geisler - 74. Men's novice vet 1, David Visnazk -- 129; 2, Clay Garner - 102; 3, Michael Malone - 82. Men's novice master 1, Don White - 133; 2, Peter Hoey - 98; 3, Glenn Jones - 79. Men's novice 1, Scott Colby - 135; 2, Jeff Beck - 77; 3, Phillip Hamier - 49. Women's novice 1, Winn Walcott - 132; 2, Betsy Taylor - 79; 3, Susan Carlson - 60. Team category 1, Team Swarm (Marc Sehler, Liz Rostermudt, Steph Offen, Roger Watson, Marty Smith). Juniors 9 and under 1, Carter Miller-137; 2, Charlie Smith- 112; 3, Hig Roberts- 101. Juniors 10-12 1,Marty Smith- 127; 2,Nick Crislit- 126; 3,Abe Maynard- 111. Juniors 13-17 1, Ethan Johnson- 123; 2, Peter Hudnut- 117; 3, Mathew Holthausen- 95.
The expert and sport classes originally were scheduled to stretch 11 miles, starting at the base of Buffalo Pass and ending at the top. Cold and wet conditions, however, meant condensing the course to a 3-mile distance. Fisher said the shorter expert course posed a worthy challenge.
"They shortened the race, but that made it even more challenging because it was like a sprint," Fisher said.
Rider Ian Prichard finished first in the men's expert division and was first in the division for the season. Doug Demusz placed second in the race and also second in the division.
"It was really close most of the way," Prichard said. "Doug caught up close, but I was able to pull away at the end, basically."
With the Town Challenge series now over, Prichard said he would relax with a few beers and look forward to next year's series. Prichard said his favorite race of the series was the Mount Werner hill climb on June 21.
"I enjoy the uphills, definitely," he said.
He wasn't alone. The June 21 event was the largest race of the season, drawing 202 competitors. On average, the series drew 168 competitors per race.
Prichard and Fisher both said they enjoyed the Sunshine Cross Country course at Mount Werner on July 22.
"It was dusty and hot, and we had to ride up Valley View, which is really challenging," Fisher said of the Sunshine course. "There was a lot of climbing there."
Morgan, second in her division for the season, missed the final race to attend husband Jamie's bike race in Mammoth. She said Fisher's first-place finish was well-deserved. Fisher and Morgan both missed races during the series.
"If we had attended all of the races, she would have still beaten me because she's a strong racer," Morgan said.
Jamie Morgan, who also competed in the Town Challenge series, ended up in first place in the men's expert vet division.
Ande Hirst edged David Eiland for first place overall in the men's sport division. The two were tied heading into the Buffalo Pass hill climb.
The Town Challenge series ran from June 7 to Sept. 8. The series had eight races and 16 divisions. A number of first-place overall finishes weren't decided until the final race, said Christina Freeman, sports coordinator for Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation, which runs the series.
Freeman said this year's series had a record 1,298 individuals who competed.
Marc Sehler, who finished first overall in the men's expert master division, said that the shortened race was a nice surprise. Competitors were told about five minutes prior to the race about the decision.
"It was actually kind of a relief not having to go the top," Sehler said. "But any of the races we have, whether long or short, they're always a challenge."
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