The Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series in Steamboat Springs moved back to Howelsen Hill Wednesday for the Root Canal cross-country race. For the Mo Phat team only three riders competed with one racer on vacation and the other with a schedule conflict due to the race being changed from the previous Wednesday.
While Steve Martinson and Chris Keiss visited the anesthesiologist before the root canal and raced with minimal pain, Eric Havrilla felt the grind of the drill twice during the race when he hit a tree and later had a flat on the descent toward the finish.
"This year just hasn't been a good year for me with flats," Havrilla said. "The flat combined with scraping my back on a tree that came out of nowhere made for a frustrating race."
Havrilla had built a lead ever since the first serious ascent in the race and was through all of the rough climbs, including the "Lane of Pain" and the "Root Canal," on his way down Howelsen Hill when he flatted.
Despite the flat, the Moffat County High School junior finished fifth in his division.
Martinson finished fourth in the men's expert 30-39 division. He said he is still making a slight adjustment since moving up a division from last year.
"Between not being able to put in the miles this year and moving up, I haven't done as well this season," he said.
"I enjoy being in the expert division though because we get to ride the tougher courses."
Keiss and his crew of wife, Mary Ann, son, David, and daughter, Emily, had another good night of racing. The ladies had the best finishes with Emily winning the girls youth division and Mary Ann finishing second in the women's novice 30-39 division.
David Keiss and Luke Rummel, according to race results, took the wrong course and were credited with last place finishes.
Keiss thought he was fine on the course after the race.
"A couple of the riders in my age group took the wrong way and it helped me finish up in second," he said. "It was a technical race that you had to pay close attention to the course."
Eric Johnson finished first in the men's novice 30-39 division.
Danny Martinson hopped on his bike to take the mountain bike challenge for the first time. He won a Camelbak backpack for his efforts and was proudly wearing it the rest of the night as his dad, Steve, was finishing his race.
The next race will be the Buffalo Pass Hill Climb next Wednesday for the riders. Havrilla is already looking forward to redemption.
"I don't flat on climbs," he said. "It should be my race next week."