Storm Peak Climb makes riders wonder |

Storm Peak Climb makes riders wonder

Butch Boucher competes in the Storm Peak Hill Climb on Mount Werner last year. The gritty Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series returns Wednesday.
Austin Colbert

— Many of the riders who take part in Steamboat Springs’ Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series buy season passes for the eight-race circuit.

It’s cheaper, $160 for those buying early. Registering separately for each race, $35 for a day-of signup, could run up to $280, so most riders sign up for the whole thing before it starts.

That may be a good thing for a race such as Wednesday’s.

At 8.7 miles, Wednesday’s Storm Peak Hill Climb isn’t the longest race of the season. It’s far from it, actually.

The race is one of the most iconic, however, and certainly one of the most challenging. Where as most races mix up and down, Wednesday’s is nothing but up — a climb from the comforts of town to one of the highest points in the area.

It’s not easy.

“You’re thinking, ‘I can’t believe I paid to do this,’” said Katie Lindquist, former pro cyclist and a regular in the series.

“You go through so many mind changes,” she said. “You’re always thinking someone’s having more fun than you are.”

The Storm Peak Hill Climb, the fifth scheduled and fourth actual Town Challenge this summer (one was rained out), begins at 5:25 p.m. with children’s races.

Don’t worry. The course for the young racers isn’t quite as taxing, running near the starting line near Gondola Square.

The riders in the sports divisions also get a bit of a break, riding to a finish line at the top of the gondola on Thunderhead Peak.

The pro/open, expert and singlespeed riders, meanwhile, have 3,472 feet of climbing to conquer.

This year’s trail will offer some changes. Construction at Steamboat Ski Area will force a re-route that will include parts of the resort’s new Pioneer trail.

That may be enough for some of those riders to have fun, and certainly tackling and beating the challenge itself is a motivator.

The views are unbeatable and the sense of accomplishment unmatched, at least in the Town Challenge series.

That all comes at the top, however.

On the way up, for many riders, it’s a whole lot of questioning.

“It’s an all-out time trial, and you just don’t stop until you get to the end,” Lindquist said.

Registration for the race will be open until 5:15 p.m. in Gondola Square; the cost $35.

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

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