Thursday, August 23, 2001
Steamboat Springs After Wednesday's Town Challenge mountain bike race, there is only one adult race that stands in close contention coming into the final competition Sept. 7.
Just three points separate the first- and second-place position holders in the women's novice 30-and-over division.
Lisa Famiglietti gave her second first-place finish of the series to pull in the lead with 100 points. Trailing Famiglietti is Cindi Hill, who has earned 97 points in the series.
With Famiglietti and Hill battling for first and second place throughout the series and no throw-away races left for either biker, the final race is key in determining a winner.
Wednesday's most surprising finish came from Ian Prichard in the men's pro open race. By more than a minute, Prichard upset Ben Zambrana, who had not lost a race in the series.
"It definitely felt good," Prichard said on finally beating his training partner Zambrana.
Prichard said he had not been thinking about racing since he and Zambrana competed in the Saturn Race as part of Team Steamboat a few weeks ago.
He said he wanted an early lead in case the race was called because of rain.
"It looked like rain when the raced started," Prichard said. "I made sure I was ahead on the first couple of laps. I was going as hard as I could. If I blew it, I blew it."
Despite the win, Prichard still trails Zambrana 117 to 99 points in the series.
"If he doesn't finish, its the only way I could win," Prichard said.
In the younger competition, some close races will be decided in the final round.
In the 10 to 12 age bracket, a two-point gap stands between first and second place. Nelson Kane has the lead with 122 points and Wiley Thayer follows at 120. But, Thayer has won five of the seven rides and still has one race to throw away.
The kids 16 to 18 competition is also close. Eric Havrilla leads with 114 points and Taylor Leary follows at 111.
Gretchen Sehler, Town Challenge coordinator, thinks the closest competitions will be bikers racing for the second and third spots.
"In a lot of races, the first place person has it wrapped up," she said.
But many times, she said, the margin of points between second and third is very narrow.
The final race will be an 11-mile climb up Buffalo Pass. The race has 3,500 feet of vertical gain and late in the racing season weather is always a factor.
"Last year it was snowing up at the top," Sehler said.
The series, which had the most competitors in its 12-year history, will end with a potluck dinner after the race.