Race is back on trails of Howelsen

Local riders gear up for some new twists

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If you go

What: Howelsen cross-country Dog Days of Summer, part of the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge mountain bike race series.

Where: Starts behind Howelsen Lodge

When: Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. Children's races start at 5:25 p.m.; adult heats begin at 6 p.m.

Cost: $25 for adults and $15 for children

— The glory of the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge mountain bike race series is that no matter the course, events are always a little bit different.

Take today's Howelsen cross-country Dog Days of Summer race. The race ventures to the well-known grounds of Emerald Mountain, but race setters Gretchen and Marc Sehler make sure the course always features a little twist.

"This time, we're going up the Lane of Pane," Marc said. "Not all the groups are going up, but it's one of the nemeses. Some people love it; some people hate it."

Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. today at Howelsen Hill. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

The children's portion of the race begins at 5:25 p.m. Pro and expert riders start at 6 p.m. and go off in two-minute intervals.

All pro, open, expert and singlespeed divisions will ride on Bluffs Overlook Trail, Lupine, Blair Witch, Lane of Pane, Lyman's Luge, Abby's, Larry's, MGM, Eye to Eye and Molly's.

The sport divisions will go up Lupine to Blair Witch, while the women's novice and youth divisions will go up Lupine to Molly's.

Still, Marc said the short, difficult jaunt up Lane of Pane makes this Emerald ride a little different.

"It's steep," he said. "It's a little over one-half mile long. It's a short grunt, but it's kind of relentless. It's a steep road that goes up from the quarry to the top of Emerald."

Other unique parts of the race include riding the full length of Lupine and coming down Molly's.

Marc said the trails are in good shape, especially with the rain the area received in the last week.

He said the trails aren't too dusty and are firmly packed down.

In addition, Kinnikinnick Lawn & Garden went up earlier this week and cleared shrubbery from around the trails.

"We want people to come out and enjoy the Dog Days of Summer," Marc said. "It's a different configuration of trails we use up there. Pre-ride the course if you can."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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