A view to pedal for at Town Challenge hill climb up Storm Peak | SteamboatToday.com

A view to pedal for at Town Challenge hill climb up Storm Peak

Sure, it was a race, and someone kept time and someone won, but many of those who pedaled their way up to the top of Storm Peak at Steamboat Ski Area weren't chasing a fellow competitor or even a specific time.

They were chasing the finish line. The goal was singular: Reach it.

And they did, 34 of them, anyway. Brad Bingham was fastest, finishing in first on the men's side, ahead of Ethan Moyer, second, and Peter Kalmes, third. Alisha Johansson was first among the four women who finished, with Rose Alford second and Kyleigh Lawler third.

Lawler was one of those riding to finish. She's no stranger to Town Challenge, having raced the annual summer events for more than five years. She didn't have to ride to the top of Storm Peak on Wednesday. There were other options, with finishes at the top of the gondola for the sport class riders and near the top of Christie Peak for the novices.

"I wanted the challenge," Lawler said. "It was the perfect night, with the temperatures."

The racers certainly got that, pedaling nearly nine miles while gaining nearly 3,500 feet of vertical, passing pine trees and pedaling through aspen groves as the view became ever better. Finally, they were on the top, cruising through patches of wildflowers as a cool wind buffeted the face of the mountain.

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The fastest, Bingham, did it in a little more than an hour. The slowest, Nika Cranmer, did it in about two. They all stopped at the top, where their accomplishment was most apparent. The sun, peaking through cloud cover throughout the race, began to poke out from under as it set in the west, behind Sleeping Giant.

They were dirty, sweaty and exhausted, sure, but there were no regrets.

"This is only my second Town Challenge. I did sport last time and wanted more of a challenge, so here I was struggling to get up here," Cranmer said. "I'd ridden up here before and this was definitely my fastest time. It was a personal win for me."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.