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Locals shine in Stage Race finale

Susie Jones, left, and Hannah Williams ride together late in the women's criterium race during the third stage of the Steamboat Stage Race. Williams went on to win her division, while Jones was fourth in hers.
Joel Reichenberger

— Steamboat Springs cyclist Susie Jones may have blown her chance to win her division of the annual Labor Day weekend Steamboat Stage Race before she even started the first of the event’s three stages.

File it under #Steamboatproblems.

“I climbed a 14er last weekend,” she said Monday, after pulling off a fourth-place overall finish in the women’s Category 2 race.

She raced well in Sunday’s road race, moving up a spot in the general classification standings, and finished third among the Cat. 2 women in Monday’s downtown Steamboat Springs criterium.

Saturday, though, she wasn’t thrilled with her time trial, a 13.7-mile spin along U.S. Highway 40, then along Routt County Road 14 for a finish on River Road.

Time trials aren’t her specialty, no matter what she did last week, but going for a grueling hike? That didn’t help.

“My legs were still really tired,” she said. “That didn’t work out very well.”

They had enough juice left in them Monday to cap a strong weekend of racing. She teamed up with fellow Steamboater Hannah Williams, a Cat. 3 racer, and the pair finished with the lead group in the criterium.

Jones was hoping to protect her fourth-place position and managed to more than do it. Ahead by 5 seconds before the race, she was up by 53 after.

“It just seemed to fit with me,” Jones said, considering her road racing passion in a town often more focused on mountain biking. “I’m more of an endurance person, like a hill climb, and I fell in love with that on the road bike.”

Monday’s final stage, which sent riders flying furiously around a four-block square in downtown Steamboat Springs, capped a big weekend of racing in and around the city.

It came to a close as Gage Hecht, a world-class cyclocross rider based in Denver, finished off a strong charge to win the men’s pro, Cat. 1 and Cat. 2 race, throwing up a fist as he crossed the finish line.

Hecht actually won two of the weekend’s three stages, taking Sunday’s road race, as well. Still, Cortlan Brown dominated Saturday’s time trial and hung close on Hecht’s wheel the rest of the weekend in order to come away the overall GC champ, winning by 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Adam Farabaugh was second, and Hecht was third, 1:38 back.

Andrea Thomas emerged as the women’s GC champ in the top division, finishing with a 30-second lead on Emma Grant. Emily Jordan was third, 4:53 behind.

Jessica Bobeck won the final stage.

Williams, racing part of Monday with Jones, provided one of the top local results.

She entered the Steamboat scene as a runner, a regular on the podium at Steamboat Springs Running Series events. She took up cycling about six years ago, however, and has recorded strong mountain bike results across the region, while dominating the local Town Challenge series.

As it turns out, she’s a pretty good road racer, too. She won Monday’s race for the Cat. 3 women and finished second, overall, in that division’s GC standings.

Her only big setback came in Sunday’s road race, when a flat tire cost her about five minutes of race time.

“I’m happier with the crit result,” she said. “Flatting was a bummer, but that’s what racing is.”

Brad Bingham — with Williams, the other half of one of Steamboat’s premier biking power couples — won the men’s Cat. 3 GC, despite finishing back in the pack in Monday’s criterium.

Other local division winners include Nelson Carmichael in the men’s 50+ Cat. 4 race

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


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