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Sometimes the best races are the ones put on by racers, and the inaugural Steamboat Stinger 50 held last weekend was a classic example of that.
Selling out the City of Steamboat Springs-granted 340 spots within weeks of announcing the endurance event via social media and word of mouth, Honey Stinger’s 50-mile showcase of classic Routt county singletrack was a success to say the least.
Starting literally on the edge of town, racers headed out on a 25-mile loop up and over Howelsen Hill that consisted of 90 percent singletrack with 3,800 feet of climbing. While the majority of racers — 220 to be exact — signed up to complete all 50-miles on their own, there was also an option to tag-team the effort in a duo class for riders who weren’t up for almost 8,000 feet of climbing in one day.
Mountain bike legend, Steamboat local and Eriksen rider Tammy Jacques certainly isn’t one to avoid climbing. Having won the women’s pro class at the Mt. Evans Hill Climb (with 7,500 feet of climbing) just the day before, Jaques led the first 20-minutes of the race before eventually settling into third place for her second podium of the weekend.
“I’m not overly tired from yesterday’s race, but definitely didn’t have that top-end today,” she said.
Taking the win in the women’s field was Rabobank’s Katie Compton, who settled in behind Jacques on the first climb, simply waiting for a spot to get around traffic from the Open Men class that started two minutes ahead of them.
“I wasn’t planning on attacking Tammy, but just wanted to get through as much of the men’s traffic as possible on one of the few open sections of the course,” Compton said.
According to one of those guys she passed, Compton blew by about 20 of them on the short climb before ducking back into singletrack, never to be seen again by him, or any of the other pro women.
In the Open Men’s race, Epic Endurance racer Bryan Alders set the pace up the first climb, bringing Cannondale’s Alex Grant and multi-National 24hr. Champion Kalan Beisel (Team Pro Cycling) with him. On a bumpy, eight-mile climb that finished up the first lap, Grant moved to the front, and stayed there.
“I rode the second lap at the same pace as the first,” said Grant, “and just keeping that pace was enough to cross the line first.”
Alex Grant 4:13:55
Bryan Alders 4:22:22
Kalan Beisel 4:22:47
Daniel Matheny 4:25:25
Peter Kalmes 4:27:33
Katie Compton 4:50:00
Kelly Boniface 5:05:08
Tammy Jacques 5:10:15
Anne Gonzales 5:25:13
Katie Lindquist 5:40:22