Sunshine Loop tests overall skill | SteamboatToday.com
Melinda Mawdsley

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Sunshine Loop tests overall skill

By the end of this week, Bo Randolph will have ridden about 184 competitive miles — by choice.

On Monday, Randolph raced in the Firecracker 50, a 50-mile technical mountain bike race in Breckenridge and won the Men’s Sport 19-24 division by a staggering 35 minutes, which included two stops to fix his brakes.

Steamboat’s Tom Bedell won the Men’s Expert 40-44 division.

On Sat-urday, Ran-d-olph will ride with coach Tom Davis in the Triple Bypass, which takes road cyclists from Evergreen to the mountains over three passes.

On Wednesday, between rides, Randolph took part in the Mount Werner Sunshine Loop, a 14.47-mile uphill and downhill race, winning the Men’s Expert 19-29 division in 1 hour, 23 minutes, 21 seconds.

Randolph is 16 years old.

Nate Juden was the top overall expert rider, and Randolph was impressed with Juden’s ride.

“I had him on the uphill,” Randolph said. “He ripped it on the way down.”

Wednesday’s race rewarded the rider who had the endurance and overall skill to climb and descend.

Barkley Robinson, who placed ninth in the extremely competitive pro division at the Firecracker 50, won the Pro/Open division handily Wednesday with a time of 1:17:17. He was nearly two minutes ahead of runner-up Marko Ross-Bryant, who raced Monday in Breckenridge, as well.

Robinson admitted that his legs were a little heavier than usual Wednesday. After third-place finisher Ian Prichard led the field on the ascent, Robinson took over where the course began to roll on Valley View and pulled away from the field.

But Robinson’s margin of victory didn’t match that of Karen Tremaine, who easily won the Women’s Expert class. Unlike the men, Women’s Expert isn’t broken up into age brackets, but it wouldn’t matter for Tremaine, the retired professional who still competes in a skirt and pigtails.

She moved to Steamboat from Boulder a year ago and has found the camaraderie she was looking for with the women in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Series. On Saturday, she crossed the finish line in 1:39:06. Runner-up Marin Campbell finished in 1:43:22. Julie Franklin was one second behind Campbell.

“This was more of a classic ski area race, not too technical,” Tremaine said. “That was my race strategy, to go really, really hard at the start.”

Tremaine took the lead at the beginning and never gave it up, jockeying for position early to have the lead by the time the course turned into single track.

Wednesday’s race took most of the men and the expert women past the gondola onto the Sunshine Loop, which wraps toward the Rendezvous ski chalet. Two weeks ago, when Tremaine ventured onto the loop, she found small patches of snow.

On Wednesday, the snow was gone.

But the adults weren’t the only riders who needed to climb Wednesday. Race director Gretchen Sehler challenged the Boys 16-18 group to climb to the gondola and descend. It was exactly what they wanted to do, and winner Adam Parke and runner-up Bryce Gordon finished in slightly more than an hour.

“They have been hounding me for a longer course,” Sehler said.

Even the Children 11-12 division had some climbing put into their race. Katie Hostetler said the Thunderhead Hill Climb held earlier this year was more difficult, but she worked hard during Wednesday’s race, as well. She was the top female finisher in her age class.

“Gretchen let us have a little bit of downhill,” Hostetler said. “I think I’m better at climbing because the downhill kind of scares me.”

The next race in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Series is the Eye-to-Eye Cross Country on July 20 at Howelsen Hill.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com