New course adds excitement to SMC |

New course adds excitement to SMC

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE ” With the Summit Mountain Challenge hosting the first-ever Swan River Rampage on a new course, it would seem that all the racers would be on a level playing field when it comes to experience.

For Brett Morgan, that wasn’t the case.

“I know the trails real well, and I have ridden on them a bunch,” Morgan said of the Swan Big Course. “It was great to actually get out and race them.”

Morgan used his knowledge of the trails to lead the pack in the Pro Elite Men’s division of the SMC, overpowering the field with a time of one hour, 17 minutes and 39 seconds.

With having the lead most of the way, Morgan controlled the pace on the course’s singletrack sections.

“Starts are pretty important,” he said. “I just wanted to get on the singletrack first and just push that section to open up a gap.”

In all, 26 different divisions of racers competed Wednesday night at the course located off Tiger Road, with the start and finish line near the Winter Trailhead parking area.

The Swan River Rampage replaced the Copper Mountain Melee on the SMC schedule, much to the delight of many riders in the field.

“Unbelievable course,” Todd Huck, a racer in the Men’s Beginner 35+ division, said. “It was a lot of fun and got my heart rate up. That course was very fitting for the type of races that [the SMC] have here: Fast and fun.”

In his division, Huck had a hard-fought battle with eventual winner Steve Lipsher.

“I just kept trying to catch that guy the whole time,” Huck said of Lipsher. “He would catch me on the climbs and I would try to catch up on the downhills. But I ran out of downhills and just couldn’t catch up.”

Having the race on this course had been a long-term goal of race coordinator Jeff Westcott.

“I have been looking at this venue for a long time,” Westcott said, “and the Forest Service and Summit County Open Space finally gave us the go ahead.

“There is a lot of sustained climbing [on the course], and it probably has the most fun section of descending singletrack in all of Summit County. It is just smooth, rolling singletrack.”

In the Women’s Expert 35+ division, Breck’s Monique Merrill (1:37:55) took home the top honors, while Jill Sorenson won the Women’s Expert 19-34.

“It was awesome,” said Merrill, who recently was part of the victorious team Nike in Primal Quest Montana. “I had never raced on the Colorado trail before, and it was a

great venue and great race.”

For full results of the race, for all divisions of riders, visit

Bryce Evans can be reached at (970)668-4634 or at bevans@

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