Town Challenge wraps up |

Town Challenge wraps up

Fast times, tough crashes at memorable final bike series race

Danny Armstrong shows off the road rash he acquired during a crash en route to his men's expert 19-29 division win in Friday's Mt. Werner Valley View Cross Country race.
Dave Shively

— It was a bittersweet ending to the final race of the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series on Friday night. Starting from the base of the Steamboat Ski Area’s Thunderhead chairlift, racers in the Mount Werner Valley View Cross Country headed up the mountain in a festive mood, basking in the sunshine as looming thunder clouds rumbled in the sky everywhere but directly above them.

“You could see the rain coming down in a deep blue across the valley that contrasted with the sunshine. That was mind-blowing,” women’s sport division racer Nicole Lindstrom said of the view from atop Thunderhead Peak.

After reaching the top of the peak, the cruise back to the base was where racers ran into trouble.

“At the fastest part of the downhill, I hit a bump, turned it a little, got somersaulted off the bike, popped back up to my feet, running and watching my bike fly by me,” Danny Armstrong said of a crash that tore the skin from much of his arm and backside. Despite the wreck, Armstrong was able to recover and win his men’s expert 19-29 division, also winning the division for his series point total.

Mark Bosley, another division point leader, atop the men’s sport 40-49 division with three Town Challenge wins going into the race, was not as fortunate as Armstrong.

Going down from Huffman’s trail to Spur Run, Bosley was riding a single speed mountain bike with a healthy lead in his group when he reportedly hit a sharp branch that lacerated his thigh.

David Keiss, riding in the 16-18 division, was the first rider to see Bosley sitting off the course trail, holding his leg. Keiss said he followed Bosley’s instructions to ride back up to Thunderhead Peak and tell race volunteers to alert emergency medical services. Fortunately for Bosley, four riders, Dr. Ed Kimm, Mel Stewart, Karl Fredell and Tony Urbick sacrificed their race times to aid Bosley, specifically helping apply pressure to stop what Fredell said was a significant amount of blood gushing from the wound.

After about ten minutes, the volunteers from the top of Thunderhead reached Bosley, transporting him safely down to the ambulance that was simultaneously making its way up the mountain.

“This series is all about being with friends, not winning at all costs,” race director Gretchen Sehler said, pointing out how Kimm, Stewart and Bosley were at the top of the same division, competing closely for the top season point totals. “They stopped and put racing aside. We are absolutely going to recognize these guys.”

Sehler specifically mentioned the Town Challenge’s sportsman award to be given away along with the race and season winners for each division at Friday night’s end-of-season potluck party.

Barkley Robinson won both the race, setting a new course record time of 41 minutes, 13 seconds, and the season point total for the pro/open division.

Essam Welch took second in 42:30 and Mike Sharkey took third in 44:35.

On the women’s side, Kelly Boniface had the fastest time of 53:52, followed by Kate Rench in 58:28 and Emily Keiss in 58:40.

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