A race with soul

Howelsen cross-country next in Town Challenge

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Two weeks ago the steep climb from the base of Mount Werner to Thunderhead provided cyclists with a test of strength.

But mountain bike riders will need more than a strong pair of legs to pass the next test in the Town Challenge Race series, which continues tonight.

"I love cross-country races," course designer Gretchen Sehler said. "A rider has to have good climbing skills, but they also have to have the technical skills necessary to descend the mountain once they get to the top."

Sehler said she used a wide variety of trails as she set up this week's courses for the race. So there is little doubt that the Summer Soulstice will be a challenge, but she also hopes it will be fun.

It's a course designed to push riders both physically and technically.

Riders in the men's open class men's expert classes, men's sport (with the exception of the 50-plus group) and women's expert classes will need to use all their skills to master the 11-plus miles from start to finish along the Lane of Pain Loop.

Junior riders will compete on the shorter Yurt, Cross Roads and Small Bluffs loops.

Riders in the men's sport 50-plus, women's sport and men's novice classes will compete on the Forest Traverse Loop, and the women's novice riders will race on the Lupine Loop.

Sehler encourages all riders to familiarize themselves with the courses before the race and said the competitors need to follow the signs along the racecourse if they want to be successful in this race.

She also said wet and muddy conditions have forced several last-minute changes and that the courses may not follow the map, which was posted online.

Sehler said riders must be aware of their group and the course they are riding because several groups will be headed in different directions during this race.

The Soulstice race will begin with the junior 9 and 10 division at 5:30 p.m. The open-class riders will begin at 6 p.m. with the other classes leaving at roughly 2-minute increments.

Riders can register at the race site for $15 for adults and $10 for youths.

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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com.

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