Sunshine loop will test riders

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Mountain bikers in Steamboat Springs will celebrate the halfway point of the Town Challenge Race Series with the longest ride of the year.

"There are some good uphill sections and some fast downhills," race director Gretchen Sehler said. "But this race will test the riders' endurance."

Sehler said there are not a lot of tricks to doing well in Wednesday's Mount Werner Sunshine Loop Race.

She said that the uphill sections are not too technical, but that riders need to be willing to go fast in the downhill sections of the race to place well.

But with the top riders covering 14.47 miles, Sehler predicts that endurance will be the determining factor in the fourth Town Challenge race of the season.

The men's open, men's and women's expert, and most of the men's sport classes will tackle the longer course, which will take riders up to the top of the gondola and then onto the Sunshine Loop.

The men's sport 50-plus, men's novice and women's sport classes will ride on a slightly shorter 10-mile course. The course likely will take from one hour and 20 minutes to 2 1/2 hours to ride.

Sehler expects to see 185 to 200 riders. She said that's an average turnout for the Town Challenge races each week.

Sehler said this is the sixth year the series has included the race. Although the race definitely climbs, unlike the Mount Werner Hill Climb, riders will have a chance to rest and recover on sections along Valley View.

After Wednesday's race, the series will return to Howelsen Hill for the Eye-to-Eye cross country July 20 and the Howelsen Hill Dog Days of Summer Cross County on Aug. 3. The Buffalo Pass Hill Climb is scheduled for Aug. 17, and the series will come to a close with the Mount Werner Valley View Circuit race Aug. 26.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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