Steamboat Springs Like a "space cadet," Liz Rostermundt blasted to the front of the pack on an uphill that weeded out the contenders from those just along for the ride.
"I wasn't really thinking of anything else," said Rostermundt, who won the women's expert division in the year's first Town Challenge mountain bike race Wednesday night.
"I'm sort of like a space cadet when I'm riding," she said.
Rostermundt, who won the race by a single second, said she may not have been the best rider in her division. However, she said, she pushed it into high gear on the switchbacks above the sulfur caves to put herself into position for the win.
Rostermundt completed four 1.3-mile laps in 21 minutes and 46 seconds to claim the top spot.
Erin Light was just behind her, finishing in 21:47.
"I put it in the big ring and pushed hard," Rostermundt said. "It hurt."
There were 20 divisions and more than 180 racers in the first Town Challenge event of the season.
The 1.3-mile circuit course starts at the base of Howelsen Hill behind the lodge, goes up past the sulfur caves and through Hobo Park. It then winds down by the BMX track and past the batting cages.
Mark Iverson, who won the men's 18-29 expert division, said this year's course was a bit lengthier than it was last year.
Iverson was in the men's sport division last year, which involves doing only five laps.
This year, Iverson had to complete six laps to win the 18-29 expert division.
"This course I was kind of nervous about because it was so much longer than last year," Iverson said. "The one big hill is the hard part."
Iverson won his division in 28:56, followed by Erik Lobeck at 29:27.
Sean Geisler, who placed fifth in the kids 9-and-under division, said he would have had a better chance of winning had he shifted to a different gear.
But the kids who beat him, he said, were deserving.
"They were pushing themselves and they had more energy," Geisler said.
In Geisler's division, eight riders did a course equal to about six-tenths of a mile, said Gretchen Sehler, the race organizer.
Grant Murray won the 9-and-under division in 1:55.
In the men's and women's open pro race, which was seven laps, Jon Cariveau beat out Brad Bingham by two seconds to place first.
Cariveau finished in 32:16.
A complete set of results will be published later this week in Steamboat Today.