It wasn’t pretty, but a number of Summit County’s most diehard mountain bikers still turned out for Wednesday night’s rain-soaked Summit Mountain Challenge series race at Keystone Resort.
“Couldn’t feel my fingers, couldn’t feel my brakes levers, couldn’t see. It was a fun format, just the weather didn’t cooperate tonight,” Kris Carlsted said after managing to pull off a first-place finish in the singlespeed category. He finished the race in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 43.2 seconds.
While thunderstorms passed close by and riders had to contend with a heavy downpour at the starting line, the race still ran as scheduled.
“This was the hard-core people. These folks that showed up deserve all the credit. They’re badasses,” race organizer Jeff Westcott said, adding that his participant numbers were down substantially compared with other events in the seven-race series. “I think the weather scared quite a few people away.”
Rains tapered off midway through the race, but storms lingered in the area and a front caused race-time temperatures to drop to a chilly 53 degrees. Heavy rains also caused slick conditions on the course.
“It made for an interesting race,” said Adam Karch, who came in second in the singlespeed division. Karch finished close to 2 minutes behind Carlsted at 1:12:32. Slick conditions caused Karch to crash on a rain-soaked bridge on one of the final stretches of the course.
Wednesday night’s race featured a different format from other races in the popular Summit County series. Instead of the more traditional cross-country singletrack course, the Keystone event featured an uphill/downhill double time trial, adding a bit of an enduro flavor to the event.
“I liked the format a lot,” Karch said after the race. “It brings out a different crowd.”
Riders began the race with staggered mass starts — based on age or skill grouping — and raced up to the summit of Keystone’s front side. From the top, riders raced back down in 30-second enduro-style intervals. Winners were based on combined times for the uphill and downhill portions.
“It was really fun. Glad to be in one piece,” recent Summit High School graduate Cameron Bobb said. “I wasn’t too fond of it at first, but I actually liked it.”
He finished third in the expert men 19-plus category, behind Josh Petrucci and Liam Mcdonnell. Mcdonnell ran the course in 1:10:24.8, the other two finished less than a minute behind him. Also noteworthy on the night was the perfromance of soon-to-be Summit High sophomore Slav Uglyar, who logged another top finish. He claimed first in the sport men 19-34 category, running the course in 1:12:01.15.
Kevin Dixon took first in the pro elite men’s category in 1:10:27.8. Ellen Sherril logged a first-place finish among pro elite women with just 0.064 separating her and second-place finisher Jaime Brede. Sherril crossed the finish in 1:25:36.73. They were the only two in the category.
The Summit Mountain Challenge biking series will continue Wednesday, July 30, with the Pennsylvania Gulch Grind.
Complete results for the Keystone Uphill/Downhill Double Time Trial are available at www.mavsports.com