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— The final downhill leg of Saturday's hot springs run is what Bjorn Grass believes foiled his chances of winning.

Grass, a German runner who has been training in Leadville, finished second overall in a 7-mile, mostly uphill course that has several shortcuts.

"I just thought it was (all) uphill but the last mile was downhill," Grass said. "It's just not right."

The competition, which featured 32 runners, three walkers and seven mountain bikers, began at the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center and ended at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Paul Sachs, the No. 1 overall finisher in the run, ended in 48 minutes and 31 seconds. Grass' time was 50:54.

Katherine Zambrana finished in 54:24 to place first among the 15 women who did the run.

Joe Sternberg won the mountain bike race in 28:12, followed by Steve Dressen at 32:17.

Zambrana, who hadn't competed in the race before, said she followed Sachs, who knew the quickest route to the hot springs.

Sachs, the first-place overall finisher, was No. 1 in the men's 30-40 division, where Brad Barlay finished second at 51:21.

Grass, the second overall finisher, was in the men's 40-50 division.

Hudson Maynard, the third-place finisher in the men's 30-40 division who opted to go through Butcherknife, finished in 53 minutes flat.

The Hot Springs Short Cut Race was part of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, which continues next Sunday with the Steamboat Marathon.

Patrick West, director of the Hot Springs Short Cut Race, said the event drew nearly the same number of competitors as last year. Forty-two people were in this year's race, compared to 46 in 2000, he said.

But as explained by the German, the Steamboat runners were at a distinct advantage Saturday.

"It was very difficult," Grass said. "There were no signs on the course."

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