Men’s pro riders begin their ascent up Steamboat Ski Area during the summer 2010 Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series Sunshine Loop event. This year’s “Unsunshine” Loop starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

File photo

Men’s pro riders begin their ascent up Steamboat Ski Area during the summer 2010 Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series Sunshine Loop event. This year’s “Unsunshine” Loop starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Familiar Town Challenge race gets an unfamiliar facelift

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If you go

What: Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series Sunshine Loop Cross-Country race

When: Wednesday; registration begins at 4:30 p.m., racing starts with children’s classes at 5:30 p.m. followed by pro classes at 6 p.m. Other classes will start after 6 p.m. in roughly 2-minute intervals. Race-day registration at race site only.

Where: Base of Steamboat Ski Area

Cost: $30 for adults, $15 for children

Online: www.townchallenge.com

— A few things have changed in advance of Wednesday’s Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series Sunshine Loop Cross-Country race on the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area. Among them is the name of the race itself.

Gretchen Sehler, race director for the Town Challenge series, has unofficially renamed the race the “Unsunshine” Loop to reflect the wet conditions that forced her to make a few changes to the course.

“It’s still too wet and snowy to ride above the gondola, so we had to change the course a bit,” she said Tuesday afternoon.

Video

Town Challenge

Kate Warnke and Gretchen Sehler talk about the Town Challenge and Wednesday's Marabou race specifically on the Steamboat Today morning show with Harper Louden.

Kate Warnke and Gretchen Sehler talk about the Town Challenge and Wednesday's Marabou race specifically on the Steamboat Today morning show with Harper Louden.

Wednesday’s race will start from Gondola Square and send riders up the Zig Zag trail to the bottom of the Thunderhead Express chairlift. Riders then will turn right and take Yoo Hoo Road to the Valley View trail. From there, racers will continue up Valley View to Spur Run, take a right on Elkhead and a quick left onto the road that leads to Thunderhead.

From the top, riders will descend Zig Zag to the bottom of the Thunderhead lift. They’ll then connect with Yoo Hoo for a second time before crossing Zig Zag and taking that trail back to the start-finish line.

Most of the classes in Wednesday’s race will use the modified course. The exceptions are the women’s novice and 13- to 15-year-old classes, which will compete on a shorter loop at the bottom of the mountain.

“This is our longest race of the season. It’s always been our longest race of the season,” Sehler said. “I would advise racers to pace themselves. They don’t want to go out too fast in this one.”

The race is the third in this year’s Town Challenge series, which has drawn large crowds for the first two events. The first race featured 182 riders, and the second race drew a record 228 racers.

Wednesday’s event starts with the children’s classes at 5:30 p.m. followed by the professional and open classes at 6 p.m. Other divisions will start after 6 p.m. in about 2-minute intervals, Sehler said. For more starting times, visit www.townchallenge.com.

Riders can register for the race at the start line from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The cost to register is $30 for adults and $15 for children 17 and younger.

The Beetle Kill Cross-Country is the next race in the seven-event series and will take place July 20.

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