Town Challenge wraps up with barbecue, awards
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Marissa Espy bought her first mountain bike last summer. This summer, she participated in the Town Challenge mountain bike series, and on Wednesday, Aug. 21, she was named the winner of the women’s expert division.
“I really just started mountain biking,” she said. “I think I found my sport.”
Competing in five of the six races, the 25-year-old accumulated 134 points for the win. The young cyclist said the Buff Pass Hill Climb on the Flash of Gold trail was her favorite course of the summer.
Espy and dozens of bikers and community members celebrated the end of another Town Challenge mountain bike series with a community ride and barbecue at Olympian Hall.
The numbers aren’t officially in, but Steamboat Springs Marketing and Special Event Coordinator Emily Hines thinks the 2019 Town Challenge drew more people than last year.
“We were way ahead in terms of attendance for most of the races individually, so I think we’re in a good spot this year,” she said. “It felt a lot more lively. It felt like there was more participation this year. Going through and doing the end of season awards was cool because we fill out this chart, and it shows there were a lot of categories that in the past we didn’t have any winners.”
The Town Challenge made a few changes this year, switching up some locations and start times to appeal to more riders. Another change, was not offering an afterparty at each race. Instead, just a few, including the brand new Buff Pass Hill Climb, had free food at the finish.
“We were a little nervous at first that people weren’t going to be thrilled about not having parties after all of the races, but by doing more informal stuff when we were here at Howelsen and at Marabou, folks really liked it,” Hines said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback so my hope is we do something similar next year.”
Wednesday was the biggest party of the year with beer and burgers.
Thinking of a relish-covered hot dog was what motivated Nathan Reynolds’ son, Isaac, to ride Wednesday night.
Reynolds rode with his 4-year-old son, while his wife, Kira, took their three daughters on a longer ride on Emerald Mountain. Nathan and Isaac rode the Bluffs ‘lollipop’ loop.
“That was actually his first time going that far,” Nathan Reynolds said. “We had fun. I had to motivate him a little with the barbecue at the end. We kept talking about hot dogs and hamburgers and chips.”
The whole Reynolds family, who hail from Hahns Peak Village, have participated in the Town Challenge all year.
“We like that it’s a community event and our kids get to come enjoy riding bikes every other Wednesday night,” he said. “It’s something we just pencil in to our summer schedules. It just gives us an opportunity to get out on bikes as a family and have fun with community.”
The Reynolds raked in the awards, with Kira taking third in the women’s expert division, and daughters Delia, Eva and Ellie all made their way to the podiums in their respective divisions.
The Famiglietti family also grew familiar with the podium. Lisa placed third in the women’s sport 35+ division, Ron took second in men’s expert, and Primo won the youth male 13-15 group with 133 points.
Oliver Nylen won the coed 7-8 division, and Carter Kopischke won the coed 9-10 division. Cash Delliquadri topped the male 11-12 leaderboard, while Kelsey Cariveau won the girls portion of the same age group.
Annika Dort won the female 13-15 race uncontested and Max Hamilton took first among male 16-18.
For the men’s sport divisions, Clinton Owens, Josh Welch and Chris Bube topped their respective age groups. Sarah Glassmeyer and Kirsten Wilson won the women’s sport age group.
Chris Magnotta and Jerry Hillard won the men’s expert age groups, and Matthew Lundy won as the only single speed competitor.
Alex Pond won the men’s pro division, while Alisha Johansson earned first in the women’s pro category.
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