Julie Hagenbuch made Gretchen Sehler an offer.
"I told her if she made an easier course, I'd race," Hagenbuch said.
Sehler obliged, several years ago forming the Miller Lite division in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Ser-ies.
Hagenbuch has raced every season since.
"It helps get you in shape, because you are on your bike," she added.
For the most part, the Town Challenge Series consists of eight competitive mountain bike races loaded with technically proficient riders, but Sehler has created divisions for adults less comfortable with racing.
The novice division is for beginning racers or those more interested in shorter courses. The Miller Lite division is similar but even less competitive.
"The appeal for me, personally, (is) it's really no stress," Lynne Thurston-Drogosz said. "But it forces me to ride harder."
Thurston-Drogosz started the season in the novice division but opted to return to the Miller Lite course, where she raced last year.
"I'm strong enough to finish it, but I'm slow," she said. "I'm uncomfortable with men passing me. Gretchen does a great job making sure it doesn't happen, but when you're really slow..."
Thurston-Drogosz noted, however, that regardless of a rider's ability level, everyone is treated the same at the start and finish lines.
"The camaraderie in every division is great," she said. "The riders are so supportive, and the (post-race) party is always fun."
On Wednesday, five riders, four of whom were women, rode in the Miller Light division in the Dog Days of Summer race. But with temperatures in the upper 60s at race time, it felt more like fall than summer at Howelsen Hill.
Conditions were perfect for Angella Lucisano's first mountain bike race. The snowboarder blew out her right anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus coming off a rail, and her physical therapists at SportsMed, a sponsor of the Town Challenge Series, suggested cycling as a low-impact way to help rehabilitate her knee.
Four months after surgery, Lucisano was racing.
"I had a blast," she said.
Lucisano followed Sehler's suggestion and rode the course Wednesday morning. She had to walk portions and almost didn't race but changed her mind.
"If it's at Howelsen, I'll race again," Lucisano said. "I like this course."
Ricky Sasak won the Miller Light division in 37 minutes, 3 seconds. Nancy Roberts was second in 37:05, and Thurston-Drogosz was third in 42:01.
If the Miller Light division was designed to be non-competitive, the pro/open division is the exact opposite. But that didn't stop Marko Ross-Bryant from admitting his mistake.
After crossing the finish line first, he checked the map and realized he made a wrong turn and went back out onto the course to ride it correctly. It cost him a win but certainly earned him sportsmanship points from his competitors.
Barkley Robinson won the division in 51:03. Mark Iverson was second in 52:39, and Tom Bedell was third in 53:01.
Karen Tremaine won the women's expert division. Brad White was the top men's expert rider. Wiley Thayer won the men's sport division, and Erin Vargas won the women's sport division. Kris Hagenbuch was the top men's novice rider, and Jen Murphy was the women's novice winner.
Bryce Gordon, Anna Marno, David Keiss, Sean Geisler, Evan Wienman and Jett Seymour were all youth or child divisional winners.
The next Town Challenge race is the Buffalo Pass Hill Climb on Aug. 17.