Steamboat Springs Brad Bingham accomplished a lot more than just a first-place finish during Wednesday's Sunshine Loop.
Bingham, who took last year off to build a house, picked up his first-ever Town Challenge win in the men's pro/expert division.
He also closed the gap in the overall points standing between himself and overall leader Barkley Robinson.
Bingham came into the race in second place in the overall standings.
"I'm happy," Bingham said after finishing with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 34 seconds. "There was a lot of strong competition tonight. There was a lot of tough guys."
After taking the lead early, Bingham was passed by third-place finisher Essam Welch about a third of the way through the course.
But Bingham got his second wind and used his superior flat-land skills to retake the lead for good.
"I caught Brad on a place I'm good at," said Welch, who is known for his climbing skills. "Then he had so much more energy when it got flat. Then he left me in the dust."
Longtime cyclist and former professional Jamie Morgan finished in second with a time of 1:06:46. Welch came in third in 1:08:01.
"It's been a while. I think this is the third one I've done," Morgan said. "The course was in pretty good shape. Considering the conditions we had, it was great."
On the women's side, former professional Karen Tremaine finished first in the women's expert division for the second consecutive week.
Tremaine, who retired from racing in 1998, returned to the Town Challenge this year after "taking a break," and recovering from some injuries. Still, the former Boulder resident put her best forward Wednesday.
"I missed it," Tremaine said after finishing in 1:26:33. "I missed the after parties. I missed getting out there and pushing yourself."
Tremaine took the lead after the first couple hundred yards and set the pace for the rest of the race. Katie Lindquist was close behind, finishing three minutes behind Tremaine. Kate Rench finished third with a time of 1:31:14.
Katie "kept it close," Tremaine said. "It didn't feel as hard as two weeks ago when Katherine (Ingalls) was on my tail."
Two weeks ago, Ingalls, 16, finished just behind Tremaine in a Town Challenge event. Wednes-day, most of the riders rode with Ingalls in their thoughts.
Ingalls was involved in a collision with a truck while biking on June 30 along Routt County Road 129. Ingalls - who returned home Monday - suffered a broken femur and pelvis, but her father reported July 3 that doctors at the Denver Health Medical Center were confident in her full recovery from recent surgery.
The next Town Challenge event takes place July 25 at Howelsen Hill. For more information visit www.townchallenge.com
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