Despite the smoke that had settled into the valley on the morning of September 29, 180 participants turned up for this year’s Baldy Hill Climb. For the trek to the top of the 3,140-foot mountain, competitors could pick their poison – biking, hiking, racing (on foot), or, if they were feeling really gung-ho, the Cheeso Double. Named in memory of Craig “Cheeso” Kjesbo, a SVSEF alpine coach, the Cheeso Double involves biking to the top of Baldy first thing, taking the lift down, and joining the racing class for another jaunt back up to the top. Indeed, it is not for the faint of heart, body or mind.
This year’s race class champion for men was Miles Fink-Debray, a local alumni of the SVSEF alpine program who has shown a knack for this particular challenge; Miles has now won the Baldy Hill Climb nine times. Miles finished the climb in 37 minutes and 37 seconds. Fifteen seconds behind him with a time of 37:52 was Adam Luban, a fresh face on the cross country Gold Team. Peter Holmes, another Gold Team skier, finished in third in 40:30. For women, Alexa Turzian claimed victory with a time of 47 minutes and 33 seconds. The SVSEF cross country alum topped the field by over a minute, even having just completed the biking portion of the Cheeso Double. SVSEF alums and current SVSEF coaches Emily Williams and Sloan Storey rounded out the top three, with times of 48:46 and 49:18, respectively.
In his first go at the Cheeso Double, Eric Chizum won in the men’s category with a combined total time of 1:49:05. Thomas Liby was second, and Joel Brazil third. Brooke Hovey, a SVSEF coach and parent, powered to first for women in 2:06:19, followed by Alexa Turzian in 2:26:55 and Alison Burpee in 2:45:56. Brooke Hovey and Eric Chizum both took the win for the bike portion of the competition, as well. Breaking into the top three for overall bike results were Brandon Lynch in the men’s race, pushing Thomas Liby to third, and Shelly Wisenhant, pushing Alexa Turzian to third for women.
Thank you to Sturtevants and Washington Federal, who sponsored the event, and to all of the volunteers who helped make the day go smoothly.
To view more photos, click HERE.
Women’s race class podium: Emily Williams (2), Alexa Turzian (1), Sloan Storey (3)
Men’s race podium: Alex Luban (2), Miles Fink-Debray (1), Peter Holmes (3)
SVSEF Executive Director Scott McGrew crosses the finish line
Alexa Turzian in the final stretch
SVSEF Alpine Program Director Will Brandenburg and daughter Georgia put in some volunteer hours