More than 100 locals return to racing via virtual Summit Mountain Challenge
FRISCO — It wasn’t the community experience of a full-blown Summit Mountain Challenge race. But Tuesday and Wednesday at the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area was about the closest thing to it during the age of the novel coronavirus.
In total, 130 mountain bikers took part in the Maverick Sports Promotions debut event after event director Jeff Westcott conceived of an alternate way to host the event despite county COVID-19 regulations.
By having racers ride the Frisco Roundup’s previously-marked race course while recording their time on the Strava application, Westcott was able to cobble together the 130 times from Tuesday and Wednesday. Westcott said that was down from a usual number around 225 at traditional Frisco Roundups.
Of the more than 100 mountain bikers who took to the trails, many did so solo. But there were others, close friends or parents with their children, who cultivated the next-best thing to an actual, on your mark, get set, go racing experience packed in at the start line with other racers.
“I saw a variety of things,” Westcott said. “The first group that I saw racing was on Tuesday night — a group of six, 10-and-under and 11, 12-year-olds heading out as a pack. They sort of replicated a regular race experience starting together.”
“I don’t think it will ever replicate the richness of a regular head-to-head experience,” Westcott added, “but I definitely think it has some traction.”
By the end of everyone’s riding, Breckenridge local and former pro cyclist Taylor Shelden won the virtual modified time-trial competition completing the long course’s 7.5 miles in 30 minutes and 20 seconds. The fastest female time was 36:40 from Abigael Carron of Boulder.
Anna Shingles of Breckenridge was one of the Summit County youngsters who raced the course with her dad James in tow to help manifest a bit of a competitive feel. Shingles won the junior girls 11-12 race with a time of 30 minutes flat, and said she was pumped when she found out Westcott, known as “Westy” to those in the county mountain-bike community, was putting on the event after all. After riding in the Wellington area and out of the B&B trailhead in Breckenridge this spring, it was good to be a competitor again.
“I’m going to do all the (Summit Mountain Challenge) races for sure,” Shingles said.
Shortly after Shingles crossed the finish line, Will Bentley of Breckenridge and his dad Karl made their way down the Frisco Adventure Park switchbacks and across the finish. Bentley, who took third place in the deep 14-rider junior boys 13-15 division with a time of 40:32, said the race was good for kids who were trapped inside for months.
“It’s fantastic they were able to make something like this happen,” Karl Bentley said. “He knows other friends are racing and they can interact that way, by looking at their times without lining up at the start line together.”
As a rainbow peaked above the Frisco Peninsula as Wednesday’s race action wore down, a trio of friends in the Clydesdale racing division — Hugh Mackey and Brent Mueller of Dillon and visitor Darren Sears of Atlanta — physically-distanced while creating the best post-race party atmosphere they could muster.
Westcott’s post-race get-togethers, after racers have grinded through the course, are typically a favorite of Mountain Challenge racers. Sitting in their lawn chairs behind their pick-up trucks in the peninsula baseball field parking lot, the friends commended Westcott and the Mav Sports team for putting the event together. Mueller went as far as to say the ride felt “kind of like the same as it is always.”
“But I missed the adrenaline kick of the start,” he said.
Looking ahead to further races in the Summit Mountain Challenge series, Westcott said he’s taking it one race at a time as he dials in potential details for the Gold Run Rush in Breckenridge. That race, still to be given the go-ahead by town of Breckenridge officials, may have a course alteration to avoid more commonly used trails near the Wellington neighborhood. Westcott said it also may be in separate segments — as opposed to the Roundup’s one run through the course — to ensure it can happen in the best possible way amid the novel coronavirus.
As for his own race Wednesday in the big bike open division, Westcott enjoyed his first series race in 21 years.
“It solidified my immense respect for anyone that rolls up to any start line,” he said. “A time trial, racing against the clock, is the race of truth.”
Josh Thies, 43:33, Denver
Nelle Biggs, 50:54, Dillon
BIG BIKE OPEN
Andrew Carney, 36:51, Dillon
Hugh Mackey, 39:56, Dillon
EXPERT + SINGLESPEED WOMEN
Sharon McDowell-Larsen, 41:41, Breckenridge
EXPERT MEN 19-39
Mickey Florio, 36:37, Breckenridge
EXPERT MEN 40-49
Jeff Cospolich, 35:56, Breckenridge
EXPERT MEN 50+
Ike Nicoll, 33:57, Denver
JUNIOR BOYS 10 & UNDER
Louie Devito, 30:43, Breckenridge
JUNIOR BOYS 11-12
Auden Pierpont, 27:49, Breckenridge
JUNIOR BOYS 13-15
Vlad Shambarger, 38:18, Dillon
JUNIOR EXPERT BOYS 16-18
Davis Duncan, 34:31, Louisville
JUNIOR EXPERT GIRLS 16-18
Victoria Uglyar, 42:48, Dillon
JUNIOR GIRLS 10 & UNDER
Sophie Dinse, 31:17, Breckenridge
JUNIOR GIRLS 11-12
Anna Shingles, 30:00, Breckenridge
JUNIOR GIRLS 13-15
Merrick Neerhof, 48:08, Breckenridge
JUNIOR SPORT BOYS 16-18
Max Footer, 43:27, Evergreen
OPEN MEN 60+
Russell Asleson, 39:09, Colorado Springs
OPEN WOMEN 45+
Trish Heisdorffer, 48:43, Frisco
Taylor Shelden, 30:20, Breckenridge
Abigael Carron, 36:40, Boulder
Bernie Romero, 39:04, Dillon
SPORT MEN 35-49
Bob Hufnagel, 39:34, Alma
SPORT MEN 50+
Mark Conover, 39:44, Castle Rock
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