Dixson wins state cycling championship

Bicycle racers compete against Lance Armstrong in Snowmass

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One local cyclist left with a state championship and several others left with a once-in-a-lifetime experience during the weekend at the Cross Country Colorado State Championship bike races in Snowmass Village.

The Blast the Mass event was the fifth stop on the Mountain States Cup tour. Leading the way for Steamboat Springs was Linnea Dixson.

Dixson won a state championship in the Category 1 women's division. In only her third Category 1 race - after winning a state championship last year in the Category 2 division - Dixson took advantage of her climbing ability on the course.

"She's a natural cyclist," said Ben Clark, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling coach. "She is probably the most coachable athlete I've worked with. You can show her a different stretch of trail to ride and learn and then she rides it. She's got really strong legs."

Clark said Dixson isn't as strong descending as she is climbing. To that, Clark said the young cyclist built more than a five-minute lead on the climb.

"She's killing it," Clark said. "She's just an awesome cyclist."

Men's pro cyclists Barkley Robinson, Brad Bingham and Nate Bird got to race their event with Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong - fresh off a third-place finish at the Tour de France - took the top spot in the men's pro division.

Robinson finished seventh, Bingham finished 17th, and Bird finished 27th.

"It was cool," said Robinson, who finished 12 minutes off Armstrong's winning time. "It was pretty awesome to have Lance there. It was good to have a chance to get on the starting line with him. We have limited opportunities to race with him."

More than 25 riders from Steamboat attended the state championships.

Other top finishers included Koby Vargas in fourth, Jim Vanderbeek in eighth, and Jett Seymor in ninth, all in the junior men's 14-and-younger division; Sarah Dixson in fourth in the Category 2 women's 19 to 29 division; Rose Alford in second in the Category 2 women's 40-plus division; Ben Clark in fourth in the men's singlespeed; Peter Kalmes in third in the Category 1 men's 19 to 29 division; Sam Chovan in third in the Category 2 men's 19 to 29 division; John Seymour in third in the Category 2 men's 50-plus division; Jack Vanderbeek in fourth in the men's 12-and-younger division, and Kyra Alexander in fifth in the Category 2 women's division.

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