Nebraskan outdoes locals at Straight Creek
SUMMIT COUNTY – The distinctive sound of water-logged bike shoes could be heard squishing around the finish area of Wednesday night’s race that ended at the Eisenhower Tunnel.
The Straight Creek Hill Climb divided the field of Summit Mountain Challenge (SMC) competitors into those who can climb and those who enjoy climbing.
In addition to climbing, the singletrack and dirt road that made up the six-mile, nearly 2,000-foot ascent included several creek crossings – a couple of which were deep – as well as some loose steeps, rocks, roots and log piles.
Darin Schlake of Nebraska made it up the fastest, finishing in 42 minutes, 21.85 seconds. Tim Faia (42:31.49) and Tim Gracyzk (42:40.52) weren’t far behind.
“He put the hammer down on us,” Gracyzk said of Schlake. “We were all three together on the last (steep and loose) section, and I spun out and had to get off. I liked the course. It was a little bit cold and wet but not too bad.”
The course was colder and wetter for people like Mary Scheifley, who won the expert women 35-plus age class with a finish time of 55:29.05, despite stalling out in the middle of one of the creek crossings.
“I got in the middle of it and kind of … fell over,” she said. “It woke me up, and it was OK, because I knew I had to run up the hill (on the other side of the creek) anyway.”
Joan Orgeldinger had the fastest time of the women, finishing in 50:47.24. She was followed by Jari Kirkland (52:12.42) and Sandy Hall (54.20:64).
According to Scheifley, who will also compete in the 12 Hours of Keystone mountain bike race Saturday, some riders might well be genetically predisposed to excel on climbing courses, and she is one of them.
“I enjoy the ones that go straight up,” she said. “I think I have the muscle development for it. When I get on the flats I’m weaker, and people pass me. The technical sections of climbing, I really thrive on those and don’t get tired, where a lot of people look at it and go, “Ahhh!'”
One of the more breathtaking results of the race was that of junior Walker Savidge, who won the 15-16 boys’ class and placed in the middle of the men’s expert field with his time of 46:50.24. His time was also faster than men’s sport (35-49) winner Kevin Shelden and blew away that of his own father, Dick Savidge (57:34.97), who won for sport men 50-plus.
Rick Hibbard (48:23.41) won the singlespeed class, Volker Orgeldinger (45:38.94) won expert men 35-plus, Annie Black (57:43.40) won sport women 35-plus and Amy Jamison (59:48.80) won sport women 19-34.
Rob Crawford (48:16.65) won sport men 19-34, Pete Richmond (50:33.96) won junior boys 17-28, Chris Campbell (54:28.80) won beginner men 19-34 and Donald Clemmey (59:27.24) won beginner men 35-plus.
“This course is probably better for me because I like the uphills,” said Campbell, who also competed in the terra triathlon at Keystone last weekend. “I can keep up a little better cadence and accelerate when it flattens out a bit.”
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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