Dixson helps injured rider

Crested Butte race offers up surprises

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Local finishers

Steamboat Springs finishers in other races at the Wildflower Rush in Crested Butte, June 19 to 21

Wildflower Rush Downhill

Category 2

Men 15 to 18

31. Sean Geisler, 4 minutes, 44.65 seconds

Men 19 to 29

1. Adam Carrera, 4:04.89

32. Ian Gale, 4:37.98

Men 30 to 39

7. Tony Achilli, 4:23.14

Women

3. Kyra Alexander, 5:00.94

Category 3

Men 15 to 18

26. Wylie Brownell, 5:04.95

Wildfire Rush Maverick Super-D

Men 19 to 29

3. Ian Gale, 12:52.80

— Mountain bike racer Linnea Dixson knew she would face bigger and tougher fields after moving up to Category 1 for Saturday's Wildflower Rush cross-country event in Crested Butte, but she had no way to expect what happened as she neared the end of her first lap.

"I came out of the woods and there she was, screaming," Dixson said.

Dixson suddenly encountered another rider who had crashed and broken her collarbone.

Dixson, a 17-year-old rider from Steamboat Springs, didn't hesitate to stop in the middle of her race and comfort the woman. After a few moments, Dixson jumped back on her bike and went in search of help.

"I sprinted to find a medic," Dixson said. "Once I found them, they told me they would take care of it and that I should continue. But that's the kind of thing that can shake you up."

Dixson did continue.

She finished the first lap and completed the second en route to a fourth-place finish at the fourth Mountain State Cup race of the summer. She admits that the mid-race sprint for help took some kick out of her legs down the stretch, and that seeing the woman in pain was distracting for most of the race.

"That impacts the way you ride," Dixson said. "You tend to be more cautious, and it's hard to focus."

It was Dixson's first attempt to race in Category 1, which is one step below professional. She needed a top finish to qualify for the national finals in July.

But despite the first-lap mishap, she still qualified and left the race feeling like she could compete at the higher level, among the 15- to 18-year-old riders.

"I raced Category 2 all of last year, and moving up was always part of the plan," Dixson said. "This is where I'm supposed to be. I think I can win at this level, but I'm going to have to come up with a strategy."

She says race winner Alicia Rose Pastore, of Durango, has set the standard, and that catching her and the other riders at the top of the division will be a challenge.

"She wins all the time," Dixson said. "Everybody is chasing her - she's really good."

Dixson finished just 20 seconds out of third place and isn't sure how much time the mid-race incident cost her. Still, she said she didn't regret stopping, and would do it again no matter where she was among the racers.

"It's one of those things," Dixson said. "I would want somebody to stop and help me, and it's not something that you just ride past."

Several other Steamboat riders raced to top finishes at the Crested Butte event, including Brad Bingham, who placed 12th in the pro men's division, and Kelly Boniface, who was third in the pro women's division.

In the other Category 1 divisions, Peter Kalmes raced to a fourth-place finish for men ages 19 to 29, Sean Geisler was eighth in the men's 15 to 18 division, Chris Tamucci was seventh in the men's 30 to 39 division and Jody Gale was eighth in the women's 30 to 39 division.

In Category 2, Rose Alford was first in the women's 40-plus division. Jeffery Gay was fifth, Mark Dennis was seventh, and Aiden Rohde was 12th in the men's 15 to 18 division.

Genevieve Dice was third, and Sarah Dixson was fifth in Category 2 for riders 15 to 18. Alec Schaffer was second in the men's 15 to 18 division for Category 3 riders.

Many of the riders at the Wildflower Rush were part of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's mountain biking team.

Coach Ben Clark said it was a tough outing, as local riders had to adjust to rough trail conditions that resulted in a large number of mechanical issues.

"It's just part of racing," Clark said. "I think it was a good experience for a lot of our riders who are not used to dealing with those conditions."

The Steamboat riders will now prepare for the National Championships, July 16 to 19 at Sol Vista Bike Park in Granby.

Seven of the nine members of the SSWSC mountain bike program have qualified to race along with several other local riders.

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