YouthZone Challenge race was an uphill battle |

YouthZone Challenge race was an uphill battle

Mike VidakovichGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. There was no yellow jersey at stake for bikers and runners in Saturday’s YouthZone Uphill Challenge 5k, but the mountaintop finish at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park did resemble an alpine stage in the Tour de France.With a clear, cool morning greeting the race participants, it was the bikers who were first off the starting line to make the arduous climb to the summit.Glenwood’s Charlie Wertheim managed to pedal faster, and navigate the switchbacks up Iron Mountain better than the rest of the field in posting a winning time of 23 minutes, 35 seconds. Wertheim had enough strength left in his legs to hold off second-place finisher Todd Malloy, who crossed the finish line at 24:15.”I could hear Todd the entire way up,” said Wertheim. “He definitely pushed me.” Scott Marr rounded out the top three in the men’s division with a time of 25:09.On the women’s side of the bike race, Helen Carlsen from Basalt was able to edge Silt’s Jeanne Blatter by 20 seconds for the victory. Carlsen’s time was 30:30.”It was a good race,” said Carlsen, who was on her bike for the first time since shoulder surgery six weeks ago. “Jeanne was ahead of me at the beginning, but then I managed to get out front.” Cheryl Pearce’s time of 34:19 garnered her a third-place finish among the women.The run/hike portion of the day saw Brian Johnson of Aspen run away from the field in a blistering 27:16 to claim the men’s title.Following his victory, Johnson seemed more impressed with the scenery at the top of the mountain than his victory.”This is such a pretty run – just look around you,” said Johnson who finished second to Bernie Boettcher in the 2005 version of the Uphill Challenge. “I just wanted to come out and give some money to YouthZone. Charity races are a good thing.”Johnson’s gap was 3:47 over second-place finisher Dennis Webb of Silt, who managed a solid 31:03 clocking.The women’s winner, Andrea Arnhold of Glenwood (formerly Andrea Sprung), also had a considerable distance between herself and the runner-up. Arnhold’s time was 33:36, which was good enough to place her in the top 10 overall.”I like this run. It was a lot of fun, and you couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Arnhold.Noel Gannett was timed at 41:58, and Jill Kelly-Anson crossed the line at 42:03 to fill in the second and third slots for the women.The run also served as a good training session for Kellen Fockler and Ryan Yost, who will be running cross country at Glenwood Springs High School this fall. Both boys have participated in most of the local races this summer in preparation for the upcoming season, which begins on Aug. 3.”We just want to be in the best shape possible when practice starts here in a few weeks,” said Fockler.With 14 bikers and 60 runners/hikers turning out, race director Robin Tolan seemed very pleased with the day’s events.”The weather was perfect today,” said Tolan. “It’s great to see everyone come out to support YouthZone.”

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