Steamboat Springs Competitors agreed the Sunshine Loop race was easier and generally more fun than the last couple of Town Challenge races. It was the same result, however.
Barkley Robinson flew down the Zig Zag trail Wednesday evening, with Brad Bingham hot on his tail, just a few seconds back. Robinson skidded to a stop at the final sharp turn before the finish, then powered down the last road, past the Thunderhead chairlift at the Steamboat Ski Area and to yet another Town Challenge mountain bike race victory.
"Four of us hung pretty close on the climb, but I knew I needed a gap on (Bingham) because he's super fast on the downhill," Robinson said. "I went as hard as I could at the top of the climb to build a gap, kept putting pressure on them on the way, and I had about a minute at the top. I knew I'd need it to hold them off."
The 13-mile pro and expert course took riders from the base of the Thunderhead chairlift, past the top of the gondola and around the Sunshine Loop before sending them racing home, down Zig Zag. Robinson mastered the course in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
Bingham, who brought up the rear end of the front foursome on the way up, blew past two competitors on the way down and was gaining on Robinson. He couldn't make up the final hundred yards, however, and finished 24 seconds back in 1:04:38.
"I was in fourth about half of the race but started plodding my way up to second," Bingham said. "It was a great course coming down. That rain last night was awesome for it."
Peter Kalmes was third according to Wednesday night's unofficial results, finishing in 1:06:29.
It was a familiar face atop the women's division, too. Katie Lindquist won the women's expert division with a time of 1:23:23. She was 50 seconds in front of Karen Tremaine. Kate Rench was third, finishing at 1:31:41.
In all, 195 racers assaulted the course, not all conquering the same distance or challenges that Lindquist and Robinson did.
Lynne Drogosz, for instance, brought up the rear for the women's novice division, finishing her race in 45:26. Still, she was trading compliments with fellow competitors afterward, calling out to friends and saying, "You should have seen me come down that trail!"
She was plenty happy to have finished another race. She's been racing in Town Challenge events for six years, but she only stepped up to novice from the easier Miller Lite division this summer.
Four races in and exhausted after Wednesday's dash, she said she's still having a blast.
"This was a really fun course. It was just perfect," Drogosz said. "This course was just the right amount of up and down. It was challenging, but there was a little relief."
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