Isabella Boniface focuses on the course Wednesday evening at the Buffalo Pass Hill Climb bike race. Isabella, 7, has been racing in the Town Challenge children's events all summer. Her mother, Kelly Boniface, won the women's open division.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Isabella Boniface focuses on the course Wednesday evening at the Buffalo Pass Hill Climb bike race. Isabella, 7, has been racing in the Town Challenge children's events all summer. Her mother, Kelly Boniface, won the women's open division.

All can compete in Buffalo Pass Hill Climb

Town Challenge race knows no age limit

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— True grit was on display Wednesday evening at the Buffalo Pass Hill Climb mountain bike race in Steamboat Springs.

And, unlike most Town Challenge races this summer, the grit had nothing to do with Barkley Robinson.

Jaxson Fryer, 5, fought his way up a hill during the children's race, clenching his teeth. He showed similar determination after the race, when he was walking across a road and dropped the only trophy awarded at Town Challenge races: his orange Popsicle.

Jaxson picked the Popsicle back up and, without a look for a parent, a brush of the accumulated dust or even a moment of hesitation, popped it back in his mouth.

Robinson notched another win in the men's pro division of Wednesday's Town Challenge race, but the drive for victory ran rampant in all age groups at one of the most difficult courses of the summer.

"The best part is winning," said Jaxson's main rival and Popsicle-slurping friend, Finn Russell. "We've been close all year, but I've been winning."

The 11-mile adult course took runners up 3,500 feet along a rocky road, finally ending near Summit Lake. Robinson established his dominance early, blasting from the starting line to establish a 100-yard lead in the first half mile.

"One group went pretty hard right from the start, so I went with them, then just kept rolling at a hard pace to open up a gap," Robinson said. "It's a perfect day - one of the nicest nights I can remember for this race. It was perfect conditions, and we had a great field for it."

Robinson finished in 59 minutes, 30 seconds, nearly six minutes ahead of Peter Kalmes, who finished in second at 1:05.04. Essam Welch finished third at 1:05.57.

Kelly Boniface, meanwhile, won the women's open division with a time of 1:17.39, ahead of second-place Michelle Isaeff and third-place Katie Lindquist.

Like Boniface and Robinson, young Jaxson has been a fixture on the Town Challenge circuit this summer. He learned to ride a year ago, his mother Shari Fryer said.

And like Boniface and Robinson, Jaxson said winning is important.

"He absolutely loves it," Shari Fryer said. "His father's been racing for years, and Jaxson was old enough this year and he was excited. (Twin brother) Jayden likes to do different things, but Jaxson just plays with his bike. Anywhere he can, he'll be on his bike."

- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com.

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