Up for a challenge

Bike race series registration begins

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— Like many Routt County mountain bikes, the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Series is a well-oiled machine.

Race director Gretchen Sehler isn't going to tinker with one of the most popular summer events in Steamboat.

"Nothing is really changing," she said about the mountain bike race series. "All the categories are the same. The race sites are the same. The venues are the same."

The Town Challenge series kicks off with a registration party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant.

Anyone interested in participating in this summer's mountain bike races is encouraged to sign up tonight. A season pass is $75 for adults and $35 for youths. Children 18 and younger who want to race in the adult divisions must buy an adult pass.

"It's the only place to get a discounted season pass," Sehler said about the registration party. "The reason we've kind of done this is the more people that pre-register, the easier it is on us."

Season pass holders keep the same bib number throughout the series, making results and registration easier to compile after each race.

Prizes will be given away at tonight's registration party.

After today, a season pass will cost $85 for adults and $45 for children.

The Town Challenge is an eight-race series that begins with the Howelsen Hill Bluffs Circuit on May 24.

The course is dependent on the weather between now and race day.

"We need a nice weekend to dry it out," Sehler said. "We have a little over two weeks."

For people not purchasing a season pass, single race registration is $16 on race day and $12 the day before the race.

This year's series will take mountain bikers of all ages and abilities to Emerald Mountain, Howelsen Hill, Mount Werner and Buffalo Pass. The winter snowfall and spring rain has hurt spring riding in the area, but Sehler asked the cycling community to remain patient.

"They are too wet to ride," she said about popular mountain bike trails in the area. "Abide by the signs. Hopefully, we can open up sections soon. Everybody has been really good about staying off the trails. The times I've walked up there, there aren't people up there on the trails. People are really abiding by it, which is awesome because they are everybody's trails."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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