Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series set for final hurrah Wednesday
August 13, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The numbers say it will be anticlimactic. The men’s and women’s top-division championships have been decided in the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series, and many of the lower positions have been decided, as well.
But the series finale has been rained out two years running, and now, riders are hoping they’ll get the chance for one final race around Emerald Mountain no matter what it means for the final standings.
“I’m just excited to finish it up,” said Peter Kalmes, locked in as the men’s champ for the second consecutive season.
He had a chance to win the whole thing two years ago, too, but needed a win in the final race. The rain stopped that hope, but Kalmes, who won the final two races of that season, hasn’t lost since. He hopes to make it 15 Town Challenge wins in a row Wednesday, when the annual summer series wraps up with the Soul of Emerald cross-country mountain bike race starting in front of Olympian Hall at the base of Howelsen Hill.
The races begin at 5:25 p.m. with the children's divisions, and the first adult category takes off at 6:05 p.m.
Kalmes has accumulated 30 points per win and has the maximum possible: 180. Because each racer's lowest-scoring week is dropped, not even a pair of flat tires can stop Kalmes.
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“I hope we get to race,” he said. “It looks like a fun course.”
Alex Pond is locked into second place, having finished there in five of the season's six races. He has 160 points. Barkley Robinson, meanwhile, was third in four of the six races and has locked up that position with 144 points.
The story is the same on the women's side, where it's Hannah Williams who has crushed the field with solid results and consistent racing. She only won once this season, at the June 26 Quarry Mountain cross-country race, but she finished second twice and never lower than fifth.
Most of the other top women's racers missed more than one event and won't be able to make up all that ground.
Mindy Mulliken is in second with 125 points and will have to fend off Emily Keiss, just back with 121.
The top of the standings might be decided, but wars will wage further down where age division standings are more tightly contested. Riders will have quite the battleground for it, too. The pro, open and expert categories will go 13.4 miles, curling up and around the Bluffs Loop and eventually up Root Canal before descending Stairway to Heaven and 11 other trails back, around the ski jumps and to the starting area.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com