Thunderhead Hill Climb today on Mount Werner

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If you go

What: Thunderhead Hill Climb

Where: Starts at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area gondola

When: Children at 5:28 p.m. Adults at 6 p.m. Registration opens at 4:30 p.m.

Cost: $25 for adults; $15 for children

— Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series Director Gretchen Sehler likes to classify today's Thunderhead Hill Climb into three categories.

"This is our longest running hill climb we've done," Sehler said. "It just being a hill climb, that's all it is. It's a challenge to some people, a pleasure to some people and a hatred to some people. It's definitely a test."

The race will start with a children's event at 5:28 p.m. Adult races begin at 6 p.m. and start in two-minute intervals.

Registration is from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the base of Steamboat Ski Area's gondola.

The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children. There will be a post-race party at the Tap House Sports Grill.

The race, which starts at the gondola and goes to the top of Thunderhead, covers 4.79 miles and gains 2,180 feet of elevation.

Sehler said with the race being one of the longest running and most popular, people can treat it as a benchmark for their climbing.

"It's one of those races that people can gauge themselves every year to past races," she said. "The course stays consistent."

What don't stay consistent are the conditions. But with sunshine in the forecast and a trail that's in great shape, times should be fast.

"It's a challenging climb, too," said Barkley Robinson, who set the course record last year with a time of 34 minutes, 42 seconds. "It doesn't let up much, and it's a pretty good consistent grade. It's a pretty good climb all the way up. The trail is in good shape. It's fast and smooth."

There will be parking available at the Knoll Parking Lot, the structured lots and where the old Thunderhead building used to be.

Sehler said the trail is in great shape after Steamboat Ski Area did lots of maintenance before opening the route for public use. She said with it being one of the most popular races, she encouraged people to show up early.

"Just come on out," she said. "Race or cheer for your favorite rider. We love to have spectators on the course."

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

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