Storm Peak Hill Climb pushes racers to the limits
Steamboat Springs — The 8.7-mile Storm Peak Hill Climb course that leads mountain bike racers from the the base of Mount Werner to the top of the mountain has been described as demanding, merciless and hard core.
But the funny thing is the same could be said about both the men and women who take on the course, racing one another and the clock in one of the most popular events of the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series, which took place Wednesday night.
“This may be the only hill climb that I will do all year,” said men’s winner Brad Bingham, who finished the race in 1 hour, 7 minutes. “Most races I do are up-down, up-down. I prefer a true cross-country. But this is a race against the clock, and there isn’t a lot of time for recovery.”
Bingham said he took the lead in Wednesday’s race somewhere along the new Pioneer Trail and did his best to put a gap between him and several challengers in what he calls one of the toughest races of the season.
“I think it is important to make a plan before the race and then do your best to stick to it,” Bingham said. “I try not to come out to explosive right off the bat. You want to maintain steady power the whole way up and then hopefully accelerate at the end.”
The good news for Bingham was that by the time he was nearing the top of the final climb, he had a firm grasp on the lead.
The same could not be said in the women’s race where Hannah Williams held off Mindy Mulliken to win the event for the second year in a row.
“It was a rough one,” Williams said. “It was very hot, and there is just no rest in this race. It’s just full gas the whole way.”
Williams and Mulliken traded the lead several times during the race, but as they made their way toward the finish line, Mulliken said Williams started to pull ahead. Mulliken would have loved to keep up with Williams, but she quickly realized that just wasn’t going to happen.
After finishing the race, Williams admitted that pulling away wasn’t as easy as it looked.
“You just have to expect that it’s going to be hard. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable the whole time,” Williams said. “I was whooped when I crossed the finish line, and I’m just relieved that it is over.”
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