Sunshine Loop dusty, dry and fast |

Sunshine Loop dusty, dry and fast

Elwood Shelton

The Sunshine Loop on Mt. Werner was dusty and fast.

Perfect conditions for Steve Martinson of the Mo Phat Racing team to capture his fifth win of the year in the 40-to 49-year-old men’s sporting section.

“The course was extremely fast so fast that I crashed every practice run I took this week,” Martinson said. “But I was able to pull off a flawless run of the course tonight.”

The Sunshine Loop is one of premier courses in the Steamboat Springs’ Town Challenge Race Series, because of its difficult ascent up to the top of the Gondola and fast descent down the Zig Zag Trail.

“It’s the big race on a fun course,” Martinson said. “You really work to make it to the top, and are rewarded with one of the fastest descents in the Town Challenge.”

It wasn’t too hard to figure out who raced the Sunshine Loop last night, just follow the sound of the coughing.

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The dusty conditions on Mt. Werner, because of the recent lack of rain, caused most racers to fight a mean case of congestion. It would seem that a little throat irritation would be the only side effect of the loose ground, at least for the Mo Phat team.

Mike Markle captured his first, top-two finish in the men’s sporting 40-to 49-year-old section. Markle had been finishing consistently in third, fourth and fifth place, but the Sunshine Loop found him pulling in a second.

Winn Walcott, who has been fighting to move up from her typical third- and fourth-place finishes, once again found herself in her usual position in the 30-to 39-year-old sporting section third.

“There are a couple of ladies who usually finish first and second in every race,” she said. “So, I’m just fighting it out to make a second-place finish right now.”

Roger Watson, who rides in the men’s 40-to 49-year-old expert section of the race, finished up the loop in third place.

The expert section of the race was actually longer than just a ride to the top of the Gondola. It proceeded an extra four miles behind Mt. Werner. The sport course was a 10-mile long course, while the expert course went 14 miles.

The only Mo Phat racer that didn’t make the Sunshine Loop was Eric Havrilla, who races in the midget section (16- to 18-year-old) of the race. Havrilla is attending a soccer camp this week, which prevented him from making the race, albeit reluctantly.

“Eric was really disappointed that he couldn’t make the race. He was really looking forward to it,” said Kathy Havrilla, Eric’s mother. “But he’s ready for the next race. In fact, he told me over the phone that missing the Sunshine just means that he’ll have to work just that much harder come the next race.”

The next race is the Aug. 8 Howelsen Hill Cross County.

For the Mo Phat team, which is still the team to beat in the Town Challenge, the season has been nothing but a joyride, and the success looks to have no end.

“It’s been a lot of fun, in fact it’s been a ball,” Martinson said. “It’s been neat to have a bunch of people from Craig come down to Steamboat and do so well. I guess it’s part of the rivalry between the two towns.”

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