Pushing the limits

Prichard breaks course record in hill climb

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By the time Ian Prichard reached the final steep pitch of the Thunderhead Hill Climb, his legs were burning, his heart was pounding and his body was screaming "stop!"

It's a common feeling in a race that takes riders from the base of the Steamboat Ski Area up five miles of steep single track to the gondola building at midmountain.

But Prichard isn't your average rider.

He knew that if he wanted to break the record, he would have to keep pushing.

So he stood up in the saddle and pushed a little harder up the final switchback and on to the finish line, which was still 100 yards away.

"You are going 100 percent right from the beginning, especially in a situation where you are trying to get a record," Prichard said. "You're racing the clock, so you are going as hard as you can the whole time -- any time you rest, you are losing time."

Prichard said he got some help from his Rio Grande racing teammate Barkley Robinson early in the race. Robinson led the pack for more than a mile before pulling to the side and letting Prichard attack the 2,000 vertical-foot climb.

Prichard said the move helped set the pace and protected him from the wind in the early part of the race.

The strategy worked as Prichard hammered up the course and broke the record set last year by a full second. His mark of 35 minutes, 17 seconds also helped him win the race. Robinson came in second at 36:33, Ben Zambrana was third at 37:34.

The top female rider in the field, Katherine Zambrana, opted to ride in the open division and finished ninth with a time of 40:48.

Her choice to race with the men opened up the women's expert field, where Karen Tremaine beat out Liz Rostermudt in a sprint to the finish line.

"I could see her over my shoulder," Tremaine said. "Normally in a hill climb, I like to get into a steady pace, but I couldn't today because she was right there. I had to push a little bit beyond where I wanted to be."

Tremaine finished at 43:43 with Rostermudt on her wheel at 43:54. Eve Stephensen came in third at 49:07.

Other winners included Mark-O Ross-Bryant in the Men's Expert 19-29, Brad Cusenbarry in the Men's Expert 30-39, Mitch Hanilton in the Men's Sport 19-29, Cactus Beauregard in the Men's Sport 30-34, PJ Wharton in the Men's Sport 35-39, and Sandy Horner in the Men's Sport 40-49, Steve Colby in the Men's Sport 50-plus.

Bo Randolph won the Men's Novice 19-29, Bill Murphy won the Men's Novice 30-29, and Steve Faulkner won the men's Novice 40-plus.

Tara Lynn Johnson won the Women's Sport 19-29 and Belinda Brownell won the Women's Sport 30-plus. Holly Wilson won the women's Novice 19-29, Jennifer Ondick won the Women's Novice 30-39, and Michelle Isaeff won the Women's Novice 40-plus.

Trent Naused won the Kids 9-and-under division, Levin Zars won the Kids 10-12, Jamie Gay won the Youth Girls 13-15, Emily Keiss won the Youth Girls 16-18, and Bryce Gordon won the Youth Boys 13-15.

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