Hannah Williams climbs U.S. Highway 40 on the way to the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass on Wednesday. About 40 cyclists turned out for the time trial.

Photo by Luke Graham

Hannah Williams climbs U.S. Highway 40 on the way to the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass on Wednesday. About 40 cyclists turned out for the time trial.

Rabbit Ears Time Trial pushes cyclists on an ideal spring afternoon

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Luke Graham

Amy Charity rides up Rabbit Ears Pass on Wednesday during the Rabbit Ears Time Trial.

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Luke Graham

Andrew Henry rides up Rabbit Ears Pass on Wednesday during the Rabbit Ears Time Trial.

— For many Steamboat Springs residents, Wednesday afternoon’s perfect weather meant a leisurely spring afternoon. But for 40 of Steamboat’s most committed cyclists, it meant conquering 7.2 miles of steep inclines on their way up to the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass.

The riders raced up the menacing and persistent slope of U.S. Highway 40 in a time trial format as a part of the first Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling event of the year.

“We do it for the Winter Sports Club kids, and also as a service to the community,” said Blair Seymour, the club’s cycling director.

Reasons for participants pushing their limits ranged from preparing for the cycling season to gauging personal progress.

Evan Weinman, who won the junior division, said, “It’s just fun to compare yourself to some of the top riders.”

That opportunity was definitely there as premier local cyclists like Barkley Robinson and Trevor Walz demonstrated some impressive riding and continued their recent trend of trading off first- and second-place finishes in the Rabbit Ears Time Trial. Walz finished with the second-fastest time Wednesday, one year after winning the first time trial of the season. He said he simply wanted to “get a good effort in.”

“It really is a great training race,” said Robinson, who claimed this year’s fastest time. Other riders, along with Seymour, referred to the time trial as a checkpoint of a rider’s progress. The Rabbit Ears climb is not only the first, but also will be the site of the last event cyclists will face in the Winter Sports Club’s summer series.

Chris McCombs, a first-time participant in the Rabbit Ears Time Trial, said he expectation was that he “was going to suffer.” The race didn’t disappoint. But despite the pain, McCombs finished with a sense of satisfaction, buoyed by the proud looks he received from his family at the finish line.

As was the case for most of Wednesday’s participants, it was 7.2 miles well spent.

See complete results here.

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