Sports briefs for July 25 |

Sports briefs for July 25

Dave Shively

— Pain reigns at fifth Challenge

Today’s Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series race marks the next-to-last one at Howelsen Hill. After today’s race, dubbed “A New Root Canal Cross-Country,” there will be the “Boneyard Cross-Country” on Aug. 1. Then, the Town Challenge moves to Buffalo Pass and Mount Werner for the last two races on Aug. 15 and 24, respectively.

The top pro/open and expert divisions in this evening’s race will have a final, steep ascent of the Emerald Mountain “Lane of Pain,” and then the technical root-riddled “Root Canal” section before cruising down MGM Trail, through Orton Meadows and back to the Howelsen Hill base. The course is 9.5 miles, and series director Gretchen Sehler estimated the fastest riders should finish just shy of an hour.

“We’re trying, in general, to stay off the singletrack where the horses go and it gets soft and too dusty,” Sehler said. “Make sure to drink a lot of water and be ready for your popsicle at the end.”

Races start from the Howelsen Hill base with the youngest divisions (from ages 6-and-under to 15) starting from 5:25 to 5:36 p.m.; pro/open and expert divisions from 6:07 to 6:38 p.m.; and sport divisions from 6:30 to 6:38 p.m.

Visit for a full course map and division start times.

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Steamboat Little League finishes third in state

Steamboat Springs’ hopes for a Little League state title ended Monday night in Denver as the local 10-and-under squad ran out of juice and lost, 14-6, to Boulder. The squad lost to Fruita on Sunday, bouncing the team from the double-elimination tournament. Steamboat earned a third-place overall finish.

“It was a good run, but our pitching just fell apart,” said coach Tim Bishop, noting how his team had staged an improbable, 14-9 come-from-behind win against the same Boulder team in a Saturday semifinal game.

In Monday’s elimination game to determine who would face Fruita in Tuesday’s championship, all was looking good for Steamboat as Jesse Pugh pitched a solid three innings. A huge two-run homer in the second from Ryan Jeep cut the Boulder lead to 4-2. With some defensive help in center field from Spencer Petersen, Steamboat was in the game, at 6-4 after four innings.

But then Steamboat’s pitching began to falter. Between a string of walks and leaving runners in scoring position on offense, Boulder jumped too far ahead.

“Last year, we went down and kind of got shellacked. This year, we get third and win a game – the first thing the kids want to know is, ‘Hey, can we play these guys again?'” Bishop said. “They know and I know, that they can play with the best in the state. It was a huge confidence boost. They were right there, there’s not that fear factor anymore.”