Steamboat’s Linnea Dixson finished third Friday in her Category 1 17 to 18 cross-country race at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in SolVista.

Courtesy photo

Steamboat’s Linnea Dixson finished third Friday in her Category 1 17 to 18 cross-country race at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in SolVista.

Steamboat cyclists capture podiums at Mountain Bike National Championships

Dixson, Rogers, Kalmes all land in top spots

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Koby Vargus was sixth in the 11- to 12-year-old cross-country race Friday at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.

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Courtesy photo

Erik Peterson rides Friday in the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in SolVista.

— Steamboat Springs’ cyclists continued to lay down strong finishes as the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships pushed into their final day today at Sol­Vista in Granby.

Linnea Dixson finished third Friday in her Category 1 17 to 18 cross-country race to score the town’s first podium appearance at the event. Koby Vargus was sixth in the 11- to 12-year-old cross-country race, also Friday.

Saturday then brought a whole new batch of impressive finishes.

Tammy Jacques-Grewal was 15th in the pro women’s cross-country race, ahead of 19th-place Kelly Boniface.

On the men’s side, Peter Kalmes dominated, winning the C1 men’s 25 to 29 race. Kai Rogers, 16, won his age group’s downhill race, and 14-year-old Andrew Hitchcock was 16th.

Dixson started the powerful rides off by surging to the front of her race Friday. She started behind five other riders but was into fourth place by the end of the race’s first climb, and she eventually made a pass on the tight singletrack trail to get into third, where she finished.

“She had a great race,” said Ben Clark, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling coach. “I’m really proud of her.”

A blazing hot day and a dusty trail defined Saturday’s action, but Jacques-Grewal and Boniface represented Steamboat well.

Boniface sat in 15th place through the race’s first two laps, but she couldn’t maintain the pace. She hung with Jacques-Grewal for a few moments as she passed but eventually dropped out of the top 20.

A fourth-lap charge bumped her back up to 19th.

“The women in this race, they were the best in the country, and the best women in this country are some of the best in the world,” Boniface said. “To have two Steamboat women — two Steamboat moms — in the top 20, that’s great.”

Neither Brad Bingham nor Nate Bird, who represented Steamboat in the men’s pro cross-country race, figured into the top of the results.

“I was toward the back. It definitely wasn’t my day,” said Bingham, unsure where he placed. “It was hot, dusty, and I was just feeling really tired.”

Steamboat Gravity Team coach Ned Kajko will race today in the Super D, but he watched Rogers’ big race Saturday. Evan Weinman also will compete in the Super D today.

“It was really cool because he’s only just started racing this year,” Kajko said. “For him to already be at that level is a great thing for the team.”

Kalmes, meanwhile, took the lead in his race midway, though, but since it was on the course with another age group, he wasn’t sure he was in front. So, he just kept pushing, realizing he’d won after crossing the finish line.

“It was cool. It was a wild atmo­sphere over there,” Kalmes said. “To be able to stand up on the podium at all was a cool feeling.”

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