About 200 riders took to the starting line in Breckenridge’s Wellington neighborhood Wednesday evening for the Gold Run Rush, the second event in the seven-race Summit Mountain Challenge mountain biking series.
Several races came down to the wire with sprint finishes, race organizer Jeff Westcott told the Daily.
“People were duking it out right to the line,” he said.
The race’s multi-lap format and mix of dirt roads and singletrack allowed competitors to incorporate a little road-race mentality, with riders forming packs rather than riding solo as in a traditional mountain bike race.
“It was really cool to see,” Westcott said of the groups of riders passing the starting line for their second lap.
In what proved to be the tightest finish, Ryan Soderberg edged out Matt Powers for first place in the expert men’s 19+ category. Soderberg crossed the finish line of the two-lap 21-mile “long course” in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 14 seconds. Powers finished just 6.5 seconds behind.
The pro/elite men’s category wasn’t quite as tight, with Nick Frey topping Garrett Lundberg by 1 minute, 26.2 seconds. Frey finished the course in 1:26:53.4.
Jamie Brede took top honors among pro/elite women in 1:40:02.5. The only other rider in the category, Kerri Willis, crossed the line 5:59.4 behind Brede. Kelly Ahern finished first in the expert women’s 19+ category, in 1:49:08.0. Nikki Larochelle finished just under a minute behind her to take second.
Also noteworthy on the evening was the a first-place finish by soon-to-be Summit High School sophomore Slav Uglyar, stepping into the sport men’s 19-34 category. Uglyar ran rode the 14.5-mile sport course in 1:09:11.6.
Wednesday’s course incorporated portions of trails in the French Gulch and Golden Horseshoe trail networks outside of Breckenridge.
The Summit Mountain Challenge will take a three-week hiatus for the Fourth of July holiday and resume July 16 with the Keystone Uphill/Downhill Double Time trial, a new event in the series.
Riders in the time trial will do a mass start from the Keystone Village and climb up Jackstraw Road to the summit, where they will have a short break and start the downhill at 30-second intervals.
The annual Firecracker 50 — also run by SMC organizers Maverick Sports Promotions — will take place during the series hiatus on Friday, July 4. The 50K race, with its traditional Main Street start, will kick off the Breckenridge Fourth of July parade. The event is capped at 700 riders, Westcott said. A limited number of slots are still available. Register online at MavSports.com.