Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Awesome day brings out 228 hill climbers

Fink-Debray wins third straight

Baldy Hill Climb mountain bike racer winner Cody Peterson relaxes at the top of Baldy, enjoying the view and the camaraderie of the day.

Miles Fink-Debray, 20, was the winner for a third straight year, Cody Peterson climbed high as the fastest mountain biker while Bill Nurge and Rebecca Rusch were the champs of the first "Baldy Double"

A classic Sun Valley Indian Summer morning, the final Saturday in a fine September, greeted 228 participants in the 30th annual Baldy Hill Climb, a Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation community event.

The number of participants was the third highest in the hill climb's 30 years, exceeded only by the 1997 (299) and 1995 (230) ascents. Since the event started in 1979 with 54 intrepid climbers, a total 4,178 trips have been made to the top of Baldy.

Swelling the field was the addition of 38 mountain bikers in the first Baldy Hill Climb bike race up the Cold Springs Perimeter trail. Eleven of the 38 took part in the Baldy Double that featured the bike ride and hike up Warm Springs.

It took Fink-Debray only 37 minutes and 29 seconds to make the 1.86-mile, 3,140-vertical-foot ascent from the Warm Springs ski run bridge—elevation 5,880 feet—to the top of Baldy—elevation 9,020 feet.

Joining six-time winner Michael Tobin (1983-86 and 1988-89) as the only male athlete to win three straight hill climbs, Fink-Debray was 2:01 faster than Whit Albright (39:30), also a three-time champion in 2001, 2004-05. Hannes Achhorner (42:59) placed third overall.

First-time BHC women's winner was Hether Holter (48:25) ahead of Muffy Ritz (51:25) and Rebecca Rusch (51:43). Keep in mind that mountain bike champion/endurance athlete Rusch won the women's biking race (1.19:26) before the hike.

Organizer Rick Kapala said, "The truly monster event was the Baldy Double which attracted two women and nine men to this hammerhead fest. All Baldy Doublers were both tough and maybe a little nuts."

Bill Nurge (1.55:25), Jeff Roth (2.10:21) and Marc Driver (2.12:13) were the top Baldy Double men. Rusch (2.11:09) and Claudia Hattrup (2.21:51) were the only women.

Making the bike podium were Cody Peterson (1.07:50), Lars-Erik Johnson (1.09:14) and Matt Luhn (1.10:23). Lead biker women were Rusch (1.19:26), Hattrup (1.24:24) and India Wysong (1.26:54).

Team winners were:

Business Team: Sturtevants with Walter Gilbert III, Julian Tyo and Che Alvarez in a combined 3.15:53.

Family Class: Team Adicoff ruled for the third straight year with Sue Conner, Willie Adicoff, Jake Adicoff and Sam Adicoff in 3.19:10.

Other families were the Nurge Family (Jenna Nurge, Landon Nurge, Don Nurge) in 4.01:57 and the DeWolfe Family (Sophia DeWolfe, Eva DeWolfe, Lukas DeWolfe, Kristian DeWolfe) in 4.02:57.

Baldy Hill Climb sponsors included event title sponsor Sturtevants, Apple's Bar & Grill (awards party), Sun Valley Company (lifts, etc.), Perry's Restaurant (summit food station), Lyn Holt and Local Color (awards) and, for prizes, The Elephant's Perch and Backwoods, Sturtevants, Sun Summit, Durance Cycleworks, Lefty's Bar & Grill and Johnny G's Subshack.

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