Steamboat Springs It's hard to imagine anyone staying relaxed as they climbed up the steep pitched slopes of Mount Werner during the second race of the Town Challenge Mountain Bike series on Wednesday evening.
Especially when you are being chased by pack of talented local riders including Ron Koch, Doug Demusz and Tom Bedell.
But after winning the open pro category, Jamie Morgan said that was the key to the first Thunderhead Hill Climb victory of his career.
"You have to relax in this race," Morgan said after the event. "If you get to tight, it makes it hard to breathe. If your breathing gets shallow or stressed there is no place to recover on this course."
Morgan has been riding in the local series since 1998 but until Wednesday night had never won the Thunderhead Hill Climb, one of the most prestigious events of the series.
"That was the best I've ever felt in this race," Morgan said.
The 33-year-old professional rider made the climb in a record time of 35:38. While he credited his quick time to the fact he was relaxed, it wasn't because fellow open competitors Koch and Demusz were not pressuring him on the course.
Koch finished second with a time of 36:07, and Demusz came in third at 36:36.
After the race, Morgan said he felt like Koch had pushed him at points during the climb, but Koch laughed it off.
"It was never really that close," he told Morgan at the finish line.
Katherine Zambrana was the only women racing in the open pro division. She finished sixth in the overall results (men and women), but was the first women of the race to cross the finish line at 40:35.
Other top finishers included Chad Gruben in the men's expert 19-29 division.
He set a new record in that division of 37:25, shattering a mark set last year by Erik Lobeck, 42:17.
Jon Freckleton won the men's expert 30-39 division with a time of 40:14, and Marc Sehler won the men's expert 40-plus division with a time of 39:06.
Sehler also set a new mark in the race beating the record set by Dan Chovan last year.
In the men's sport 19-29 Eric Havrilla won with a time of 42:54, while Scott Lalande posted the fastest time in the men's sport 30-34 division at 43:38.
Bruce Gorr topped the men's 35-39 division with a time of 44:57, John Cowell topped the men's 40-49 group at 42:20 and Dan Smilkstein posted a time of 45:30 to win the 50-plus division.
In the men's novice, Levi Doria won the 19-29 division with a time of 47:41; Rob Shoat topped the 30-39 class at 46:48 and John Lamb collected a win in the 40-plus division with a time of 48:27.
Regina Froemmling set the pace in the women's expert with a time of 50:04. In women's sport it was Doris Hausshitner winning with a time of 51:56 in the 19-29 division and Amy Brown took top honors for women 30-and-over.
Rachel Marin won the novice 19-29 with a time of 1:00:16 and Sarah Langley won the women's novice 30-plus.
Race director Gretchen Sehler said the course was dry but in good shape for Wednesday's event. She added that new records were set in several of the divisions.