O’Connell leads pack | SteamboatToday.com

O’Connell leads pack

Dog Days winner has home field advantage

Apparently the domination of the Junior Moots Cycling team reaches further than just Steamboat.

Both Katherine Ingalls and Bryce Gordon swept their respective Junior-X races in Telluride and confirmed their top overall ranks in cross-country standings.

Sam Chovan held onto his second overall placing in the junior expert men category, while Sean Geisler finished first in the beginner men, ages 13-14.

Brett Gordon also held onto third place in the 11-12-year-old category while Adam Parke and Wiley Thayer both finished strong.

"The course was phenomenal," Bryce Gordon said. "It's by far my favorite place to race. You climb fast and there are super-smooth descents."

— If there is such a thing as home field advantage in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge, then Chuck O’Connell used it Wednesday.

O’Connell rides the track at Howelsen Hill frequently and used his knowledge to edge out Ron Famiglietti in the Men’s Expert 40+ division at the 2006 Dog Days of Summer.

“I end up riding this trail a lot and that seems to be an advantage,” O’Connell said after clocking a time of 51 minutes 11 seconds. “(Ron) and I were wheel to wheel from the top of Lupine down. It was really fun.”

Famiglietti, who finished 23 seconds behind O’Connell, said in the beginning of the race, O’Connell pulled away from the pack and it was all Famiglietti could do to keep up. When the downhill portion hit, Famiglietti said, O’Connell pulled away for good.

“I tried to hang onto his wheel all night but in the end he was the fastest tonight,” Famiglietti said.

The recent rain contributed to pictures-que conditions Wednesday. Un-like two weeks ago, when rain canceled the Town Challenge, Wednesday’s course and wea-ther made for a perfect night of racing.

“The rain really helped,” said Scott Myller, who finished third in the Men’s Expert 40+ division with a time of 53:24. “It was grippy and not too dusty. I rode it on Monday and you couldn’t even see if you got behind a guy. Tonight, though, the track was superb,” he said.

For O’Connell, Saturday marked his first race of the year in the Town Challenge. O’Connell has spent most of the summer attending his children’s soccer and swimming events. Although he “really enjoys” watching his children enjoy the summer, as competitors found out, Saturday was all about O’Connell.

“It was great whipping around those corners,” he said. “This is a great race. I always look forward to doing these in the summer.”

In the Men’s Pro/Open div-ision Barkley Robinson continued to maintain a stranglehold on the top spot with a winning time of 47:34. Essam Welch finished second with a 49:16 and Mark Bryant finished third with a time of 49:44.

The next Town Challenge race is Aug. 16 at Buffalo Pass.

To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com.

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