Kings of the hill

Town Challenge race sees repeat winners

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Mountain bike racers Barkley Robinson and Liz Rostermundt made it two-for-two Wednesday by winning their divisions in the Thunderhead Hill Climb.

Robinson set the pace in the men's open division of the second Town Challenge race of the season by climbing 2,000 feet from the base of the ski area to the top of the gondola in a time of 38 minutes, two seconds. Robinson also won the open division in the Howelsen Hill Bluffs Circuit race two weeks ago.

But earning his first Thun--derhead Hill Climb title was no easy task for the veteran cyclist who splits his time between fat tires and road bikes.

The race in the open class was decided at the finish line as Robinson held off a stubborn Essam Welch to win the race. Welch finished the 4.73-mile race just two seconds behind the winner in a time of 38:04.

"He was on my wheel the whole way, and he matched every move I made," Robinson said. "This was a very strong field, and Essam is a very good racer."

Course record-holder Ian Prichard finished third in 39:06, but the record time of 35:17 that he set last year will stand for at least one more year.

"Ian was super fast last year," Robinson said. "That's going to be a hard mark for any rider to beat."

On the women's side, Rost--ermundt also picked up her second victory in two attempts this season.

She raced up the course in a time of 47:07 to beat out second-place finisher Marin Campbell, who finished in a time of 50:26. Julie Franklin finished third in a time of 51:22.

"I'm a climber," Roster--mundt said. "I just really enjoy racing up hills."

But, like Robinson, the veteran cyclist also spends most of her time on a road bike.

"I haven't been on my mountain bike a lot this year, Rostermundt said.

Outside of the Town Challenge series, she has ridden in only one other mountain bike race ---- an 18-hour race in Fruita earlier this spring -- and says she spends most of her time training on roadways.

"Road bikes are great for conditioning," Rostermundt said. "I think that conditioning really helped me in this race."

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