Town Challenge wraps up on Friday |

Town Challenge wraps up on Friday

Melinda Mawdsley

The Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series wraps up Friday with the Mount Werner Criterium at the Steamboat Ski Area.

The eight-race series concludes with one of its fastest, as Town Challenge riders will be treated to a relatively easy course Friday — two weeks after the challenging Buffalo Pass Hill Climb through the wind and rain.

The Mount Werner Criterium begins at the base of the Christie lifts. The loop heads up Zig Zag to Short Cut and Bashor before descending toward Headwall and the Preview chair. Riders will then turn back toward the Christie lifts.

It’s a 1.7-mile lap, and the number of times the cyclists will ride it depends on their division.

Pro/Open and men’s expert riders ages 19 to 39 will do five laps. Men’s expert 40-plus, women’s expert and all men’s sport divisions will ride four laps. Men’s novice and all women’s sports riders will complete three laps. All women’s novice and cyclists ages 16 to 18 will ride two laps.

Youth 13 to 15 and Miller Lite riders will complete one lap. Youth 10 to 12 will ride a shorter course, as will children 9 and younger.

Friday’s Mount Werner Criterium will begin at 5 p.m. with the youth riders. The adults will start at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s a quick, fast course,” Town Challenge director Gretchen Sehler said. “The climbing is minimal per lap. It’s high speeds and spectator friendly.”

Spectators might want to come out to see how several points races wrap up. In the pro/open division, four points separate leader Barkley Robinson from Ben Zambrana. Two points separate third-place rider Ian Prichard from fourth-place rider Tom Bedell.

In the men’s sport 35 to 39 division, P.J. Wharton has a 12-point lead on Matt Heydon. In the men’s novice 40-plus division, Steve Faulkner, who has ridden in every Town Challenge race, is nine points ahead of Michael Malone. Brian Small is in third and is 12 points behind Malone.

In the Youth 10 to 12 division, Sean Geisler has an eight-point lead on Tucker Olson. Brett Gordon has 66 points and is just four points behind third-place rider Zeb Tipton.

The winner in each division will receive a mug and free entry for next season.

“This last race will determine, if not first, then second or third,” Sehler said. “There are a lot of close ones. Some are wrapped up completely but some are wide open. Our whole philosophy is it’s great to win, but the participation is important, and prizes don’t always go to the winners.”

All season, names have been added to several drawings that will be picked Friday after the race. Each time a racer entered an event this summer, his or her name was thrown into the drawing for a Moots frame and ski passes for adults and youths. The Town Challenge and KFMU also will give away a trip to Las Vegas on Friday night.

Riders must be present to win these prizes.

In addition to the huge prize drawings, the annual end-of-season potluck at Olympian Hall will be after the race. Novice riders are asked to bring a dessert or salad. Sport and youth riders are asked to bring a hot dish and pro/open and expert riders should to bring an appetizer.

To encourage creativity, an award will be presented for the best dish.

“The tradition is long enough that people really put an effort into it,” Sehler said.

A slide show of the entire season will be shown at the potluck as well.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail

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