The Summit Mountain Challenge hits its Peak
BRECKENRIDGE – The A Racer’s Edge Summit Mountain Challenge has waited 18 years to visit the Peaks Trail.The wait ended on Wednesday night with the fifth event in this year’s series – an 8-mile time trial on the trail that slinks through White River National Forest from Frisco to Breckenridge. The overwhelming consensus from racers was that the venue was an instant classic. “I loved the course. I used to live in Frisco for 15 years, so I know this course,” said Jody Thompson, who dominated in only her second SMC of the season.Roni Graczyk was even more enamored with the trail.”I would like them to do it every week in addition to the Summit Mountain Challenge,” she said with a light-hearted smile.
Graczyk pedaled the course 53 minutes, 15.85 seconds to win her age group and take third overall behind Thompson (52:34.40) and second-place finisher Colleen Ihnken (53:15.85). In the men’s race, the Graczyk juggernaut continued, as Roni’s husband, Tim, won his second SMC race of the season. “I feel like I’m getting stronger,” said Graczyk, who has spent much of this season budgeting his energy between the local series and the Mountain States Cup, a championship series spread across Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. “I’m trying to do both, which is a little hard,” he said. “But it’s coming along.” Jack Gervais, who won last week’s Copper Mountain Melee, had another strong race, finishing second at 41:36.79. Jeff Covey finished in 42:24.71 to win the 35-and-over division and take third overall.In the sport class, 16-year-old Kevin Soller obliterated the men’s field, hammering his way up the course in 44:31.90, almost three minutes faster than second-place finisher Thomas Hoffman (47:06.84).
The sport women weren’t as spread out, as Dara McDonald (58:03.83) held off Holly Wade by only 23 seconds (58:26.76). Both women won their age groups. Josh Robertson won the men’s beginner class, riding the eight miles in 50:53.67, while Kristin Schwarck won her second second beginner women’s race in a row. She completed the circuit course at the Breckenridge Nordic Center in 42:09.75. Lining up the Peaks Trail as a race venue wasn’t difficult, according Mike McCormack who helps run the series. “Our philosophy is that we never use it because we consider it sacred ground,” McCormack said. “But then we’ve seen every promoter from out of the county come in and use it.” After watching so many events use the trail, McCormack felt that Maverick Sports could put on a strong race, and decided it was in the best interests of the series.”For the Summit Mountain Challenge, we’re trying to mix things up,” he said. “We wanted to bring in some new stuff and retire old venues.”
The SMC continues next Wednesday, as the series moves from its newest venue to one of its most storied – the 15th annual Pennsylvania Gulch Grind. The Grind features a unique point-to-point course that begins on Boreas Pass Road and ends at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.Check Friday’s edition for more comprehensive results. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at email@example.com.
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