Sunshine Loop takes local

The Sunshine Loop race of the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series is the longest of the series. For Craig's Steve Martinson the race took a little bit longer than planned.

"That loop is usually one of the most fun for me with the big climb and then a long, fast decent," he said. "It'd been more fun if I hadn't flatted."

Martinson had a flat tire around the 11th mile of the 14-mile race. When he pumped up his spare tube it also popped and he was preparing to walk his bike the final three miles. Another rider then handed Martinson his spare tube and, thanks to the Good Samaritan, he was able to finish without walking.

Despite the flats, Martinson wasn't out of the race. As he continued the decent toward the finish, another racer approached and a battle was on. Martinson held off the racer but then wrecked as he crossed the finish line, popping his third tire of the night.

"I didn't know who was behind me but I wasn't going to let them get me," he said, with the blood still fresh on his knee and shoulder from the finish-line wreck. "It turned out the racer was in my division so it was good that I held him off."

The final effort allowed Martinson to finish fourth in the 40+-year-old expert division.

Unlike Martinson, Chris Keiss finished the race with all of his tires inflated but he said his legs felt deflated.

"It was just brutal," he said. "It definitely felt like the longest race of the season."

Keiss finished seventh in the 40-49 sport division while the rest of his family fared better in their overall finishes.

Mary Ann Keiss finished third in the women's 40+ novice division, Katharine Keiss was second in the girls 9&U, David Keiss was the runner up in the boys 10-12 division and Emily Keiss took first in the 13-15 girls division.

"I felt better tonight," Mary Ann Keiss said. "It was like I had something extra there."

Two Sunshine Loop rookies from Craig were Lanny Lambrecht and Craig Mortensen. The climb up Mount Werner was what they said they would remember.

"I felt good through the first three-and-a-half miles," Mortensen said. "Then I just bonked. That was a tough climb."

"I just kept thinking, 'Is there somebody else to pass so I can feel good about this?'" Lambrecht said.

Despite the "bonk," Mortensen finished fifth in the novice 40 + division with Lambrecht a minute behind him and in fifth.

The next race for the Town Challenge Series will be the Howelsen Hill cross country Thursday, August 7th.

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