Summit Mountain Challenge off to exciting start |

Summit Mountain Challenge off to exciting start

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FRISCO – It seemed Wednesday’s Frisco Roundup was the ideal start to the 2010 Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike series.

As racer Jill Sorenson put it, “The race has a little bit of everything. It starts with a good climb and has just about everything you could see.”

That includes a near photo finish.

Sorenson caught Jaime Brede down the final stretch of the two-lap, 13.6-mile race at the Frisco peninsula, passing her near the finish line for a narrow 4.7-second overall win on the women’s side.

“It was really close,” Sorenson said. “I didn’t think I could (catch her) – she’s fast.”

Both women wound up taking the titles in their respective divisions (Sorenson in expert women, and Brede in pro/elite women), and those were just two of the 26 category titles handed out Wednesday in the series-opening race on a course unlike many other in the area.

Series director Jeff Westcott called the Firsco Roundup a “true classic” of the 24-year-old series, as it’s the only SMC race to be held each and every year.

And the unique aspects of the course, Westcott said, truly separate the race from the series’ other five contests.

“I call it the slick-rock trail of Summit County, because you’re always going up and down,” he said. “You’re never in the same gear for very long. It’s rolling terrain, and we don’t have a lot of that here.”

One rider who certainly enjoyed the terrain was 21-year-old Kevin Soller. The Breck native and former U.S. national team cyclist – still feeling the effects of a downhill race in Sol Vista over the weekend – couldn’t pass up a chance to compete in the race that he first entered at age 13.

“What I really like about it is the back section with all the singletrack,” he said of the course. “It’s pretty techy. If you’re comfortable having a little more speed in the turns, you can make up a lot of time.”

And that’s exactly what Soller did to take the victory in the men’s pro/elite category.

After leader Ross Holbrook had a small bobble on that singletrack toward the end of the 20.4-mile course (the top-four flights of men did a three-lap race), Soller took the lead and, eventually, the win.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve won one of these,” he said. “It’s a stacked category, there are a lot of good guys. This is a confidence booster for sure.”

Ezekiel Hersh was third in the men’s top category, and Charlie Knoll and Walker Savidge were third and fourth, respectively.

The races other category winners were as follows: Jennifer Kumbier (beginner women), Ryan Anderson (beginner men 19-34), Greg Ruckman (beginner men 35+), Elizabeth Miller (sport women 19-34), Andrea Valdez (sport women 35+), Peggy Bailey (open women 50+), Alan Simons (sport men 19-34), Ron Braden (sport men 35-49), Todd Rankin (sport men 35-49), Gordon Herwig (sport men 50+), Mark Thompson (singlespeed men), Scott Reid (clydesdale), Mike Schilling (expert men 19-34), Steve Stalgren (expert men 35-49) and Scott Yule (expert men 50+).

The next SMC race is the Gold Run Rush at the Country Boy Mine on June 23.

For more information on the SMC, including full results from Wednesday’s race, visit

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