Love, hate and hill climbs

Thunderhead race a favorite for local riders


— The participants in tonight's Thunderhead Hill Climb mountain bike race will ascend 2,180 vertical feet over 4.7 miles.

And most, race director Gretchen Sehler said, will love every minute of it.

"The hill climbs are our more popular races," Sehler said. "Some people hate to climb. Some people come out just for the hill climbs."

This year's adult race starts at Gondola Square and works its way up to the top of the Thunderhead lift.

The adults will take off around 6 p.m. in a series of waves.

Children interested in riding will have a hill climb of their own.

Riders ages 9 and younger will finish at the Christy chairlift.

The 10- to 12-year-olds will ride up to the bottom of the Swinger run, and the 13-15 division riders will climb to the bottom of the Thunderhead lift.

Children will start at 5:30 p.m. at Gondola Square.

"I'm hoping for a nice, warm night," Sehler said. "The course is in awesome condition. It's probably the best it's been in years. Since the gondola hasn't been open, the trails are real hard and haven't been ridden. The conditions are just great."

The Steamboat Ski Area and the gondola are scheduled to open for summer operations on weekends-only beginning Friday.

People can register for the Thunderhead Hill Climb until 5:45 p.m. today in Gondola Square.

Sehler said people's times on the tough ascent continue to impress her, with most riders finishing under an hour.

Jamie Morgan holds the men's record at 35 minutes, 38 seconds. Katherine Zambrana holds the women's record at 45:46.


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