Despite some rain over the past week, a mostly dusty course greeted the racers at the Swan River Rampage Wednesday evening.
"It was pretty dry and rocky," said racer John Spencer, who competed in the sport men's category. "Some of it washed out with the rain, but everyone was kicking up some dust."
The third race in this summer's Summit Mountain Challenge Series took bikers 16 and older on a 13.25-mile loop starting just past Good Times Adventures on Tiger Road in Breckenridge. They climbed on the Colorado Trail, descended into Horseshoe Gulch and made their way back on a two-track that paralleled Tiger
"The climbing was really hard, but the descent was fun," said elite men's first-place finisher Nate Hills, who clocked in at one hour, five minutes and three-and-a-half seconds, a little more than one-and-a-half minutes before second-place rider Kevin Dixon. "The last couple miles back up from Tiger Run were the hardest, just because it's a mellow, false-flat climb."
Junior riders 15 and under did two or three laps on a 1.8-mile loop, depending on their category.
Andrew Duxbury, who won first place in the junior boys 10-and-under category (finishing two laps in 19:29:51), found the initial uphill on his course a little challenging because there were a lot of rocks, but overall, thought he did a pretty good job.
Sisters Tai-lee and Ezra Smith - who raced in junior girls 10-and-under, and junior girls 11-12, respectively) - both managed to snag first place in their categories, despite getting late starts.
They arrived a little late, Ezra Smith said. She was a little nervous about it at first - the two were racing to the start line from the parking lot as their groups took off - but managed to get her wings under her after that first uphill. The other riders in her group used up a lot of energy going up, but she took it slow and passed them at the top, she said.
Juniors can learn the tricks of the trade at the Mountain Bike Junior League, which hosts group rides once a week to help kids perfect their riding, and to teach them the rules of the trails.
They're given trail etiquette, proper riding technique, environmental education and even a little mining history, said Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports.
This year, 85 kids are signed up for the rides, which have been taking place since 2001.
"They love it," Westcott said.