Mo Phat, Mo firsts in race series |

Mo Phat, Mo firsts in race series

Elwood Shelton

The Mo Phat Racing team from Craig still remains atop the team standings in the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series, after Wednesday’s race at Howlsen Hill.

Leading the way is the still-undefeated, Steve Martinson, who took his fourth, first place of the season in the 40- to-49-year-old sport division.

“I could hear a few guys behind me huffing and puffing, only to discover that they were younger guys than me,” Martinson said. “It was pretty encouraging to be outpacing younger competitors.”

Eric Havrilla continued his run of top finishes on Wednesday as well, although it wasn’t the first-place finish that he had been looking for. Instead, Havrilla finished second, which is his third, second-place finish of the season in the 16- to-18-year-old age group.

Roger Watson, who races in the 40- to-49-year-old expert division, finished a solid second in a division that was making the circuit laps in 24 minutes.

The sport group, in the same age division, had lap times nearly double the 24 minute expert-class times.

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“The riders in Steamboat Springs are some of the best in the state,” Watson said. “So the race was as competitive as any this year.”

Rounding out the Mo Phat team was Winn Walcott, who finished third in the women’s sport division, and Mike Markle, who finished fifth in the 40- to-49-year-old sport class.

The circuit race on Howlsen Hill was close to three-miles long, and started with a hill climb up a paved road, but that section of the race was the only part held was on pavement.

The route then traveled over a ridge atop Howlsen Hill, and descended down two, twisty single tracks to the bottom of the hill, crossing meadows along the way.

The expert division racers completed three laps of the circuit, with the racers in the sport division completing two, and the youth racers only one lap.

The next race for Mo Phat will be the Sunshine Cross Country, which climbs Mount Werner to the Sunshine chair lift and loops back down to the bottom.

The Sunshine Cross Country is a 14-mile-long race, with a difficult hill climb, followed by a fast, downhill descent to the bottom of the mountain.

Though all the season’s races are held in the name of fun, the entertainment value is sometimes brought into question by the racers themselves.

“I often question how much fun these race really are after I’ve pushed myself to the limit,” Watson said. “But it is the days that you’re on, and everything is going right, that the races are great it’s fun in a sick sort of way.”

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