Marabou welcomes summer’s arrival with first Town Challenge race |

Marabou welcomes summer’s arrival with first Town Challenge race

Town Challenge gets underway at Marabou

Under the shadow of The Sleeping Giant, bikers take to the course at Marabou Ranch Wednesday for the Marabou XC, the first race of the season in the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series.
Austin Colbert

— Boyd Bass may be 61, but he has the giddiness of a 16-year-old when it comes to mountain biking. An import from Oklahoma, Bass has enjoyed the mountain town life for 13 years now, and the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series has been a big part of his summer activities for each of those years.

“I love the competition and the chance to ride,” Bass said. “It’s a real benefit for the community. I really feel like summer has started with the first race.”

Wednesday certainly felt like summer as the 2016 Town Challenge Series kicked off with the Marabou XC, held on the private Marabou Ranch west of Steamboat Springs. It was the first of eight scheduled events this summer and the only race not held at either Mount Werner or Emerald Mountain.

“It’s pretty bumpy, but it’s a fun first race. It beats you up,” racer Zach Mikkelson said of Marabou. “With Werner and Emerald, it gets kind of boring, it gets kind of repetitive. You ride the same trails. Here, it’s only open three days a year. It’s fun to come out here once a year and ride. It’s a change of scenery.”

Mikkelson, 18, won the men’s sport 19 to 34 division with a time of 46 minutes, two seconds, more than five minutes ahead of second place. This is his second summer living in Steamboat, after moving from Hood River, Oregon, to be an Alpine skier for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Skiing is undoubtedly his main focus, but he won’t say no to a career in mountain biking if it comes down to it.

“It was kind of a fun thing. I used to race competitive cyclocross in Oregon,” Mikkelson said. “We moved out here to ski. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll bike.”

Bass is likely past the point of a professional mountain biking career, but that doesn’t stop him from showing up each race. With the Town Challenge capping the upper age division at 50 plus, he acknowledges it gets more difficult each year to compete with those 10 years younger than he.

Nevertheless, Bass held his own Wednesday, taking fourth in his sport age group in a little more than one hour.

His familiarity with the rarely open Marabou course could have helped.

“It’s just a fun, rolly course,” Bass said. “I’ve ridden it enough years where I pretty much recognize it. I wasn’t able to pre-ride it. Usually, I would. But it was familiar enough.”

In the pro/open class Wednesday, defending series champion Brad Bingham cruised to a win with a time of 49:45, about a minute and a half ahead of fellow series regular Alex Pond. Ken Benesh was third.

Hannah Williams took the women’s pro/open race in 59:19.

Other adult race winners include Jeff Harper (men’s novice 19-34), Rich John (men’s sport 35-49), Jamie Letson (men’s sport 50+), Emily Lawrence (women’s sport 19-34), Kyleigh Lawler (women’s sport 35+), Ethan Moyer (men’s expert 19-34), Jeremy MacGray (men’s expert 35-49), JC Norling (men’s expert 50+), Hadley Nylen (women’s expert), and Tyler Gilman (men’s single speed).

Children’s race winners include Peter Cooper (youth coed 7-8), Tanner Hamilton (youth coed 9-10), Alden Wade (youth male 13-15), Eliza Fox (youth female 13-15), Simon Zink (youth male 16-18), Reilly Newborn (youth female 16-18), Max Hamilton (youth male 11-12), and Annika Ort (youth female 11-12).

For a full list of results, click here.

The next Town Challenge race will be the June 15 Bike Town Classic at Emerald Mountain.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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