Peter Kalmes tops Town Challenge field in season-opening race |

Peter Kalmes tops Town Challenge field in season-opening race

Peter Kalmes rides in the sun Wednesday in the Howlin' Howelsen

— The Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series rushed back into Steamboat Springs on Wednesday evening much the way it left at the end of last summer.

There was a large crowd and spirited racing. There was loud applause as refuse-to-stop racers pushed flat-tired bikes across the finish line, and there was plenty of lingering as friends gathered post-race to trade stories about the nearly 10-mile jaunt on Emerald Mountain that signaled the start of the local racing season.

Yes, plenty was just the same as it had been a year ago, and that fit Peter Kalmes just fine. Hanging with a pair of riders in the course's early ascent through the Bluffs Loop, he hit the jets and rode most of the race alone, cruising to an easy victory in the top men's classification.

"It was great. That was such a fun way to start the year," Kalmes said. "The trails are in great shape, as good as it gets. It's like pavement, so fast."

Kalmes, last year's season points champ in the pro division, finished the course in 40 minutes, 52 seconds. Trevor Walz was second in 41:39, and Alex Pond was third, just a hair back in a photo finish, also at 41:39.

"You always wonder at the beginning of the year who sits where, who might have moved to town," Kalmes said.

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On Wednesday, it was obvious he's still the man to beat.

Linnea Dixson won the women's expert division, finishing in 49:32. Hannah Williams was second at 50:34, and Kate Rench was third in 51:42.

In all, 182 racers finished the event.

The series returns next week with a race at Mount Werner.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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Find full race results from the Howlin’ Howelsen here.