Linnea Dixson approaches the finish line Wednesday during a Town Challenge race at Steamboat Ski Area. Dixson won the women's expert division for the second week in a row.

Linnea Dixson approaches the finish line Wednesday during a Town Challenge race at Steamboat Ski Area. Dixson won the women's expert division for the second week in a row.

Tough course doesn't slow Steamboat Town Challenge riders

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See results from Wednesday's race here.

2013 Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series schedule

— David Stevenson still is new to the job since he started working only four months ago with Steamboat’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department. And Wednesday’s Churn and Burn Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series on Mount Werner marked only his second event as that series’ director.

He used some of his time before the race to study old surveys from series participants and to conduct a new one. But one theme stood out.

“We had feedback from a lot of racers asking for more challenging courses, and we also had people asking for a little more downhill,” Stevenson said.

Racers might want to be careful with their suggestions in the future, but considering the Steamboat mindset, maybe not.

Wednesday’s race included more than 3,500 feet of climbing, sending the top divisions to the top of Thunderhead Peak and the top of the gondola twice. It also included just as much downhill riding. It all came together for a monster course, at nearly 18 miles more than any Town Challenge race on the mountain last year.

And because the 182 who registered are a bit sick like that, racers ate it up, crossing the Gondola Square finish line with wide smiles even as the sun was setting.

“It pushed people more than they’re used to be pushed at a Town Challenge,” Stevenson said. “I got a couple people who were reserved, a little intimidated by it this last week, but overwhelmingly today I got really good feedback from pretty much all the classes.”

As for the actual racing, the strong stayed strong, with both Week 1 winners repeating as champs in the season’s second race.

Peter Kalmes dominated the pro/open division, finishing in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 6 seconds, nearly twice his time from the first week’s race, but still eight minutes faster than anyone else.

Alex Pond was second in 1:38:42, and Barkley Robinson was third, finishing at 1:41:05.

Linnea Dixon won her second race in as many attempts, finishing in 2:01:06. Tammy Jacques was second in 2:02:53, and Mindy Mulliken was third at 2:07:40.

Dixson said it was a bit surreal winning the race ahead of Jacques, a former pro cyclist and Dixson’s racing coach.

“It was fun to ride with her,” Dixson said. “She was throwing out words of encouragement.

“I’ve had surgery for the last two summers, so I’ve been out for a while. I can’t even consider myself the best rider. Everyone has their own skills and even if you win the races, you’re not the best on other levels. There’s always something else you can learn.”

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

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