Bingham wins first race of Town Challenge series
Steamboat Springs — The racing season started months ago — well before the snow melted — for mountain bike veteran and Steamboat Springs resident Brad Bingham.
“I’ve been racing since January, with snow bike racing and then into dirt racing,” Bingham said. “We’ve been traveling all over the place: California, Utah, Colorado. All over. Going to Montana next week.”
While Bingham, who competes at a professional level, does his share of traveling in order to race, he’s also not one to miss any of the local events, especially the Town Challenge. The popular series kicked off its summer schedule Wednesday with the Marabou XC, held at the picturesque Marabou Ranch, just west of Steamboat.
The cross country races featured more than 100 riders in 14 different divisions, with Bingham coming out on top in the pro/open division, which featured the best of the best.
Bingham, who has raced the 12.2-mile Marabou course on a couple of occasions and competed in the Town Challenge on and off since 1997, took top honors with a time of 50 minutes, 44 seconds, edging out second-place finisher Alex Pond’s time of 51:02.
“It’s super nice. It feels good,” Bingham said of winning Wednesday’s race. “We would have been sprinting for the win tonight if (Pond) hadn’t made a couple of little mistakes, and I was able to get by him.”
Finishing third in 52:24 was Peter Kalmes, who at one point had won 18 straight races in the Town Challenge before sustaining an over-the-handlebars crash in a race last July. Kalmes won the 2014 Marabou XC, part of his long win streak.
“He got me here last year, big time,” Bingham said of Kalmes. “He and I have raced against each other here more than once. In his fastest years, the last couple of years, I was not racing against him.”
Taking first in the women’s pro/open was Hannah Williams in 59:10. She also won the 2014 race at Marabou. She held off Becky Edmiston (1:01:12) and Mindy Mulliken (1:04:15) for the title.
The Marabou XC was the first of seven scheduled races this summer, with an eighth likely to be added. The next event will be the Emerald Envy XC June 24 at Emerald Mountain in Steamboat.
“I say we still have something to learn from other towns, but we have a really excited community and participants,” Bingham said of the competitive mountain bike scene in Steamboat. “So it’s great. The more cycling events we have the better. So it’s really good for the community. It’s a healthy lifestyle, and it brings a lot of nice, healthy people.”
For more information on the series, visit townchallenge.com.
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