Kelly Boniface powers up a hill near the end of Wednesday's Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series course in Steamboat Springs. Boniface won the women's division.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Kelly Boniface powers up a hill near the end of Wednesday's Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series course in Steamboat Springs. Boniface won the women's division.

Large crowd turns out for 1st Town Challenge race of season

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— John Thrasher peeled back the wrapper of his cherry Popsicle and briefly claimed it was the post-race treat’s ice-cold deliciousness that had lured him back to the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series for a ninth consecutive year.

“Na,” he said, giving up the ruse. “I love the riding, the fun and the camaraderie.

“Mountain biking is a culmination of brutal and exhilarating. It’s brutal on the uphill and exhilarating on the downhill, and that’s what keeps me coming back.”

Thrasher was joined in his exhilaration Wednesday night by 181 other cyclists who kicked off the summer’s mountain bike race season in Steamboat Springs with a dash across the available trails on Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain.

Facing a late and wet spring that’s left trails throughout Routt County boggy and unrideable, race series director Gretchen Sehler cobbled together whatever trails she could find on the city’s favorite trail network. The result was a test that left riders young and old, rookie and veteran smiling, exhausted and positive they’d earned their Popsicle.

“I’m surprised we had as many as we did,” Sehler said. “No one’s been able to ride or train for this year. It was good. It worked out well.”

Few attacked the course as determined as Kelly Boniface. She had a long string of Town Challenge season championships snapped when Tammy Jacques, new to Steamboat racing but one of the country’s most elite cycling veterans, won the final race of last summer’s series and the championship.

Boniface said the challenge is great in several senses. Friends off the course, she insisted racing Jacques in a (supposedly) laid-back local series will be of great benefit in more competitive, prestigious weekend races across the region.

The challenge also is great, she explained, because Jacques is simply good. Jacques demonstrated one of the main reasons why early on Wednesday’s course. The trail included two tough climbing sections, and Jacques thrived and surged.

“I can’t beat Tammy in a climb. I just tried to hang onto her wheel, but she’s such a great climber, I dropped off the pace,” Boniface said.

Boniface made up the difference after the race finally leveled off, then turned downhill on Lupine, catching, then passing her Steamboat rival.

Boniface went on to win by 40 seconds, finishing the course in 51 minutes, 54 seconds. She never stopped stealing glances behind, however, eager to take the first round in what is sure to be a season-long battle.

“It’s great. It gives me someone to chase,” Boniface said. “I wouldn’t be pushing so hard in these races if it weren’t for her.”

Katie Lindquist was third among the women in 58:15, while Brad Bingham was tops in the men’s division, finishing in 44:00. Peter Kalmes was second in 44:40, and Alex Pond was third in 45:20.

The race for the top spots was intense, and it didn’t let up much down the line as racers vied to win their age groups and skill divisions. Still, when it was over, attention quickly shifted away from dirt trails and minutes and seconds to the simpler things in life, like post-race Popsicles.

“For me, it’s not a competition,” said Thrasher, grinning wide at the end of a sunny Steamboat day. “It’s a celebration.”

Results

Howelsen Cross-country

Wednesday

(Place, name, age time)

Pro/open

1 Brad Bingham (35) 44:00

2 Peter Kalmes (30) 44:40

3 Alex Pond (27) 45:20

4 Trever Walz (29) 45:29

5 Craig Rench (39) 45:33

6 Barkley Robinson (38) 46:17

7 Nate Bird (33) 46:44

8 Cory Piscopo (30) 47:58

9 Scott Tanner (41) 49:22

10 Chad Gruben (36) 50:01

11 Essam Welch (31) 50:03

12 Bud Whitehead (32) 50:21

13 Bo Randolph (23) 50:22

14 Bryce Daviess (24) 50:23

15 Adam Parke (21) 51:30

16 Jeff Minotto (39) 51:53

17 Doug Demusz (40) 52:36

18 Matt Eggen (28) 53:70

19 Sam Chovan (22) 54:38

Men’s expert 19 to 34

1 Jeffery Gay (18) 55:12

2 Evan Soard (33) 55:32

3 D. J. Nudy (26) 57:33

4 Blake Chilson (31) 58:30

5 Converse Fields (22) 1:04:00

6 Paxton Jones (34) 1:11:17

Men’s expert 35 to 49

1 Jeff Snook (37) 49:53

2 Pat West (43) 50:32

3 Jeremy MacGray (35) 51:14

4 Paul Campbell (44) 51:59

5 Ron Famiglietti (46) 52:03

6 Billy Vanness (42) 52:24

7 Scott Myller (45) 53:23

8 Peter Boniface (43) 54:12

9 Pj Wharton (44) 54:37

10 Derek Hodson (39) 54:38

11 David High (42) 55:31

12 Darrin Fryer (42) 55:53

13 Rick Hodges (44) 56:10

14 Andreas Sauerberey (45, 56:31

15 Robin Craigen (48) 56:59

16 Chris Arnis (49) 57:48

17 Daniel Foote (43) 58:17

18 Andy Weynand (41) 1:02:30

19 Jon Casson (39) 1:02:50

Men’s expert 50 and older

1 Marc Sehler (57) 55:05

2 Mel Stewart (51) 55:06

3 Kris Hagenbuch (54) 1:00:21

Men’s sport 19 to 29

1 Evan Weinman (16) 52:53

2 Alec Schaffer (17) 57:17

3 Jon Winkelblech (20) 1:01:21

4 Mark Dennis (20) 1:03:35

5 Ben Beall (28) 1:04:03

6 Tanner Heil (16) 1:12:05

Men’s sport 30 to 39

1 Brian Heit (32) 54:15

2 Adam Wright (38) 58:20

3 Eric Rabesa (37) 58:28

4 Garett Mariano (36) 58:52

5 Christian Levan (32) 59:37

6 Jeremy Schumacher (39) 59:47

7 Aaron Tisdale (33) 1:00:24

8 Eric Dose (31) 1:02:25

9 Antonio Jaranna (31) 1:12:34

Men’s sport 40 to 49

1 Bob Kastor (41) 59:39

2 Tim Aigner (40) 1:00:05

3 Bobby Aldighieri (46) 1:03:02

4 Jon Wade (44) 1:03:34

5 Walter Magill (42) 1:04:05

6 Jeff Olsen (46) 1:09:12

7 Nate Cox (40) 1:10:59

8 Mike Aljanich (47) 1:11:32

9 Mike Malone (48) 1:17:20

Men’s sport 50 and older

1 Chris Keiss (51) 1:00:31

2 Boyd Bass (57) 1:04:44

3 John Thrasher (62) 1:10:18

4 Stephan Zittel (53) 1:12:04

5 Mike Markle (57) 1:16:26

6 Joel Miller (53) 1:21:40

Men’s novice 19 to 34

1 Eddie Rogers (27) 1:06:53

2 Dennis Flanagan (30) 1:06:54

3 Tim Zander (26) 1:06:56

4 Trent Jones (33) 1:07:57

5 Garrett Branson (29) 1:10:41

6 Austin Watts (21) 1:33:01

Men’s novice 35 to 49

1 Larry Lindeman (41) 1:16:59

Men’s novice 50 and older

1 Peter Hoey (52) 1:16:22

2 Mike Nartker (60) 1:37:00

Women’s expert

1 Kelly Boniface (41) 51:54

2 Tammy Jacques (45) 52:34

3 Katie Lindquist (46) 58:15

4 Kate Rench (39) 58:41

5 Kat Fitzsimmons, 1:00:55

6 Jody Gale (37) 1:03:12

7 Bec Bale (36) 1:04:36

8 Hadley Nylen (30) 1:07:04

Women’s sport 19 to 29

1 Liana Gregory (27) 1:00:12

2 Kate Chapman (25) 1:00:46

3 Kristen Stemp (28) 1:07:40

4 Helen Brown (27) 1:09:35

5 Brynna Vogt (29) 1:12:00

6 Emily Fisken (27) 1:19:00

Women’s sport 30 and older

1 Nicole Lecoyer (33) 1:08:43

2 Susie Jones (30) 1:09:11

3 Mary Ann Keiss (49) 1:11:52

4 Krista Check-Hill (49) 1:12:45

5 Patti Lindquist (54) 1:20:58

6 Elisha Colson (31) 1:24:15

7 Kim Hornsby (47) 1:30:08

Women’s novice 19 to 34

1 Gretchen Coleman (32) 40:56

2 Lindsey Smith (26) 43:34

Women’s novice 35 and older

1 Kelly Bastone (38) 38:09

2 Lane Malone (47) 48:46

Youth male 13 to 15

1 Jett Seymour (14) 28:55

2 Andrew Keiss (15) 34:44

3 Rio Graab (14) 37:45

4 Peter Rosenthal (13) 38:32

5 Koby Vargas (13) 55:00

Youth male 16 to 18

1 Zeb Tipton (17) 1:01:20

Youth female 16 to 18

1 Lucy Newman (17) 1:15:28

Children 6 and younger

1 Andrew Kempers (6) 00:34

2 Jack Fox (6) 00:42

3 Elizabeth Lemley (5) 00:44

4 Thomas Neidermeier (6) 00:45

5 Primo Famiglietti (6) 00:47

6 Sal Malone (6) 00:52

7 Henry Migill (5) 00:55

8 Seamus Malia (4) 00:58

9 Kade Lawton (4) 01:09

10 Nolan Laird (4) 01:11

11 Charlie Reisman (6) 01:15

12 Ellie Reynalds (4) 01:17

13 Karl Brody Freckleton (5) 01:18

14 Owen Wither (3) 01:19

15 Gavin Murphy (4) 01:23

16 Eva Reynalds (4) 01:26

Children 7 and 8

1 Danial Kempers (8) 01:26

2 Wally Magill (8) 01:27

3 Sage Zetzman (8) 01:29

4 Coleman Bohmer (8) 01:30

5 Andrew Lemley (7) 01:31

6 Gunnar Gilbertson (8) 01:32

7 Colin Kagan (7) 01:34

8 Ellie Blair (8) 01:35

9 Rune Freckleton (7) 01:38

10 Riley Jacobs (8) 01:43

11 Ely Cariveau (7) 01:54

12 Shea Pepin (7) 02:06

13 Katie McLaughlin (7) 02:09

Children 9 and 10

1 Matthew Kempers (10) 02:24

2 Riley Hodges (10) 02:44

3 Bryce Zetzman (10) 02:45

4 Dane Freckleton (10) 02:48

5 Isabella MacGray (9) 03:12

6 Alex Blair (10) 03:22

7 Eliza Fox (9) 03:30

Men’s singlespeed

1 Matthew Pronovost (33) 52:41

2 Doug Karet (44) 52:44

3 Ben Clark (43) 55:12

4 Jp Pougiales (52) 57:19

5 Tad Huser (36) 57:28

6 Braden Wilson (33) 57:34

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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