Mountain Town Roundup |

Mountain Town Roundup

Compiled by Ryan Wondercheck
summit daily news

OGDEN, Utah – Nicolas Lebrun of France used a strong effort to run off with the XTERRA USA Championship on Saturday at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah.

It was Lebrun’s second win in three years. He also won it in 2009, and placed second last year.

“I think this is a very good race to win today,” said Lebrun, 38. “I think a lot of athletes knew that today – there was more media, a lot of people around, so I’m really happy to have my best race of the year today.”

Lebrun finished with an overall time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 26 seconds. He was in third place after the bike, but made up more than a minute on the 6.34-mile run.

Josiah Middaugh of Vail also relied on a strong run to finish in third place overall and the top American with a time of 2:25:37. South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz, the 2010 USA and world champion, placed fourth in 2:27:30.

American cycling legend Lance Armstrong placed fifth in his XTERRA debut. His presence generated additional media and fan attention and he proved that he could contend with the top XTERRA professionals.

Armstrong was in third place for much of the race, and finished with a time of 2:29:25.

Lebrun passed Armstrong late in the bike stage, and then passed Stoltz and Hugo on the run. “I caught Lance on the bike,” Lebrun said. “I said I’m passing Lance on the bike, is this a dream? That was my first victory of the day.”

Melanie McQuaid of Canada took the women’s USA Championship for the fourth consecutive year. She finished with a time of 2:43:00. It was her fifth women’s USA title. McQuaid took the lead early in the bike and maintained it the rest of the way.

Ryan Ignatz of Colorado was the top age-group finisher. He placed 12th overall with a time of 2:37:56. Avon’s Tamara Donelson was the top female age-group finisher with a time of 3:04:31.

– Vail Daily staff report

The heavy and long-lasting snowpack last winter allowed the diversion of one of the greatest volumes of water ever from the Upper Fryingpan River basin, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said this week.

A total of 98,800 acre feet of water was diverted east via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project from spring to late August, according to Kara Lamb, spokeswoman for the reclamation bureau.

“It’s the second largest diversion in the operating history of the project,” Lamb said. “The guys went up and closed the diversion sites about three weeks ago.”

Construction of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project began in 1964 with Ruedi Dam and Reservoir. Water was first diverted for agricultural irrigation, municipal and industrial purposes in September 1975, according to the reclamation bureau’s website, so this was the second largest volume of water diverted in 36 years.

The record diversion was 110,000 acre feet in 1984, Lamb said. The average diversion over the last decade has been 54,000 acre feet per year. This year’s volume was 83 percent above the average.

To put the 98,800 acre-feet into perspective – that’s just slightly below the amount of water that Ruedi Reservoir holds when it is full.

The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project uses 17 dams and diversion structures to capture water from streams. The system also taps Hunter Creek in the Roaring Fork River basin. Nine tunnels with a combined length of 27 miles funnel it into the collection system. The water is forced through the Charles H. Boustead Tunnel under the Continental Divide to Turquoise Lake near Leadville.

A plumbing system on the east side of the Divide ultimately takes the water to Aurora, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and farms in the Arkansas River Valley.

The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project wasn’t intended for flood control, but it essentially takes on that function during years with high runoff, said Don Meyer, senior water resource engineer with the Colorado River District in Glenwood Springs. The organization monitors water quantity and quality issues along the Colorado River and its major tributaries.

“In a year like this, yes, there’s no doubt” it helps with flood control, Meyer said. “Just having Ruedi this year was big.”

The irony is that water diversion from the West Slope to the East Slope is usually a controversial topic. “In a dry year, you’re going to be cursing this system,” Meyer said.

Not so in a year when transmountain diversions and reservoirs in the headwaters helped prevent flooding on the West Slope.

Lamb said the peak inflow to the reservoir this year was about 1,800 cubic feet per second. If Ruedi Reservoir wasn’t there and that entire amount was flowing down the lower Fryingpan River, Basalt would have seen a flow more than twice as high as it was this year. And without the diversion to the East Slope, the peak flow would have been even higher than 1,800 cubic feet per second.

In the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River basin, the volume of water diverted this year was about 63,000 acre feet, according to the river district. Water has been diverted since 1935 in what’s now known as the Independence Pass Transmountain Division System.

That would make it one of the larger, but not the largest, diversion years, according to a previous interview with an official in the company that manages the system. The Independence Pass diversion system usually diverts about 39,000 acre feet annually.

– Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

CARBONDALE – Colorado wildlife officials are reminding residents to be alert in light of recent mountain lion attacks on animals.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says a mountain lion killed a Carbondale-area resident’s dog near the Sunlight ski resort late Sept 21.

Wildlife managers consider human safety or loss of livestock when deciding whether to relocate or kill a predator, but they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet.

In northern Colorado near Carter Lake, Keith and Georgina Minto told the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald that in the past nine months, mountain lions have killed four of the alpacas and llamas they raise.

Human deaths from mountain lions in Colorado are still rare.

– The Associated Press

CARBONDALE – Never a community to shy away from finding new and unique ways to bond, a group of people in Carbondale is getting set to break bread together – literally.

The Carbondale Community Oven project was envisioned two years ago by Mount Sopris Historical Society director Linda Criswell.

Her idea was to build an outdoor, wood-fired brick hearth oven in a public place to be shared by members of the community who want to bake bread, biscuits, pizza, cookies, muffins … whatever.

“A group of us, including both amateur and professional bakers, got together and started talking about how to do it,” Criswell said. “The idea was to have a central place where we could all do our baking, and have classes and fundraising events.

“It’s the same kind of oven used in professional bakeries all over the world, only outside,” she said.

Earlier this year, the town of Carbondale gave permission for the oven to be located in the new town park behind the Third Street Center.

The park was dedicated as part of the Roaring Fork School District’s teacher housing project, which is eventually to be developed in the vicinity. The park will include a community garden, among other amenities, so the oven seemed like a natural addition, Criswell said.

Since then, the project has been a huge community volunteer effort.

Materials and labor were donated by Gallegos Construction, Valley Lumber, Mayne Block, Ben Sellers, Tile by Jacob, The Fireplace Co. and numerous individual volunteers.

Grant funding also came from the BKS Charitable Foundation, and the project has been supported by Slow Food Roaring Fork.

“It’s a ‘slow’ project in the best sense, because it brings back a food tradition and heritage that almost everyone has,” said Tom Passavant, chapter leader for Slow Food Roaring Fork.

Passavant heard about the Carbondale project through locals and slow food fans Patrick and Leslie Johnson, so he contacted Criswell.

“We had just been out with some friends in California at one of the vineyards, where we had the most amazing brick-oven bread,” Passavant recalled.

– John Stroud/Post Independent

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