Column: Up Mt. Evans; honoring America’s heroes
The Aspen Times
Picking up the pieces on a summer day:
Kevin Callahan of Aspen is a state champion.
Callahan, a 17-year-old Aspen High School senior, won the Colorado state cycling title in his 17 to 18 age group a week ago at the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb — regarded as Colorado’s toughest (paved) road-bike climb.
The staggering ascent covers 27.4 miles and climbs 7,500 vertical feet to a summit elevation of 14,100 feet.
Callahan, who started his summer racing season with podium results at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango, won his 2015 state championship when he made the climb in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 56 seconds.
He won by a whopping 17 minutes. Callahan is the son of John and Kathleen Callahan.
Stephen Haas of Lakewood was second in 2:31:05. James Ianni of Denver finished third.
The Mount Evans Hill Climb also is one of Colorado’s most historic bicycling events. It was started in 1962 by a group of cyclists who decided to ride up Mount Evans.
The race was renamed in 1981 in honor of five-time race winner Bob Cook, who died of cancer at age 23.
The 2015 overall winner is a cyclist familiar with Aspen — Australian Lachlan Morton, who trained here this summer. Morton, a Boulder-based pro cyclist and former stage winner in the Tour of Utah, won the Mount Evans Hill Climb in 1:48. He won by two minutes over Emerson Oronte, also of Boulder.
And the women’s winner was Colorado cycling legend Mara Abbott of Boulder, who made the climb in 2:19.
Susie Jones of Steamboat Springs was second at 2:31.
Abbott, considered an unbeatable climber at elevation, is the five-time winner of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Road Race from Durango to Silverton (over two mountain passes).
A two-time winner of Europe’s top stage race for women (Giro Rosa), Abbott also won Mount Evans Hill Climb titles in 2005 and 2006.
The Boulder native was a two-time national collegiate road-racing champion at Whitman College in Washington, where she also was a competitive swimmer.
Two part-time Aspen residents recently pedaled 3,000 miles across America and raised more than a half-million dollars for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
The two — Winston Fisher and Evan “Chip” Marks — teamed with two other cyclists to form the winning four-cyclist team in the annual Race Across America.
The race went from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland.
The foursome won the team competition in six days, 13 hours, 49 minutes.
Marks and Fisher both spent time training in Aspen before their summer ride across the country.
The winning team raised more than $640,000 through pledges for the Race Across America.
The money goes to the Intrepdid Fallen Heroes Fund, which builds diagnostic and treatment centers that help miliary members who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and other psychological health conditions.
Other team members were Brian Collins and Jessica Lynn Marino.
Fisher is a partner with the Fisher Brothers real estate firm in New York. Marks is cofounder of Sungate Asset Management. Collins is head of development for Fisher Brothers. Marino is an equity sales trader for Instinet.
Jimmy Riccitello served as the team’s manager. He’s a global head referee for Ironman and Xterra championship events.
“All four of us are completely exhausted and in a lot of pain, but we are thrilled to have completed the race and … to raise awareness and funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund,” Fisher said. “Nothing we are experiencing now comes close to what the men and women of the armed forces have been through. We are grateful to have a chance to give back to our military heroes.”
Intrepid Spirit Centers have been built through the fund in Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Centers currently are under construction at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Hood, Texas.
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.