Bingham, Williams first to Storm Peak finish |

Bingham, Williams first to Storm Peak finish

Austin Colbert

Steamboat Springs resident Jeff Minotto approaches the final climb of the 2015 Storm Peak Hill Climb Town Challenge mountain bike race. The race returns to Steamboat Ski Area on Wednesday.

The general consensus among local mountain bikers is Wednesday's Storm Peak Hill Climb is the sort of beast you don't pick a battle with unless everyone else is doing the same. Basically, it's about peer pressure.

"It's just part of the series. And everyone else comes, so it's motivation to go," said Steamboat Springs pro Hannah Williams. "It's rewarding to finish, as painful as it is. You get done, and it's just a relief. It keeps you motivated for the next one."

Wednesday's race, the fourth of the summer in the Town Challenge series, is easily the most demanding. It starts at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area and takes the pro/open, expert and single-speed competitors to the top of Storm Peak, a distance of 9.2 miles and elevation gain of more than 3,400 feet.

It's rarely a fun race for the bikers, but it's one they all keep coming back to.

"When you feel good, it's a great race. When you don't feel that good, it can be a really tough race," said Steamboat's Brad Bingham. "Either way, it's a tough race. But when you feel good, it doesn't hurt as bad."

Bingham finished first in the men's pro/open division with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 46 seconds, edging out the 1:06:38 put up by second-place finisher Peter Kalmes. Alex Pond was third in 1:08:23.

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Williams, who is also Bingham's girlfriend, won the women's pro/open division in 1:21:46. Linnea Dixson was second in 1:30:50 and Becky Edminston third in 1:36:16.

"I was really lucky. I felt really great tonight," Bingham said. "Me and my girlfriend both won. It was a good night. … We are both kind of shelled, but it felt good."

The couple is fresh off a trip to the 2015 U.S.A. Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals, held July 15-19 at Mammoth Lake, California. Williams finished 13th in the women's pro cross country race, and Bingham was 14th in the same men's classification.

"That was so cool. It was my first nationals as a pro," Williams said. "I was pretty nervous going into it. But it was just such a cool experience to be there and race against the best. It went pretty good."

The Town Challenge series has two races remaining on its 2015 schedule. Next is the Aug. 19 You Don't Know Jack XC on Emerald Mountain, with the Sept. 7 Sunshine Loop XC on Mount Werner rounding out the season.