Boniface lights up Breck Firecracker
Steamboat Springs — Kelly Boniface is beyond the days of intense focus on mountain bike racing, beyond any sort of organized training and beyond careful planning about race strategy and training schemes.
“I just ride now,” she said.
She still rides plenty fast, however, and that led her to yet another podium finish in the Firecracker 50 — a 50-mile mountain bike race in Breckenridge on Monday.
Boniface finished third in the event.
“That took me by surprise,” she said. “I just haven’t been racing this summer. Those women, they’re racing all the time.”
Boniface was one of a handful of Steamboat Springs riders to log top results at the Summit County event.
Also joining her on the podium was the coed team of Brad Bingham and Hannah Williams.
Each rider rode a 25-mile lap, and the pair won that division of the event for the third consecutive year.
“It’s just a really fun event,” Williams said. “There’s great competition in that category, and they have all the Fourth of July festivities going on, so it’s just like a big celebration and a race at the same time. It’s really fun to be a part of it.”
Bingham took the first lap, handling the mass start chaos that can make or break a race. He came in six minutes faster than any other riders on that first lap.
Williams then served as the team’s closer, recording one of the day’s fastest second laps to finish off the win.
Mindy Mulliken and Dax Massey also raced in that division. They placed 13th among 68 teams.
Other Steamboat riders included Tanner Visnick, who was 20th in the men’s pro/open field, and Alex Pond, who was 21st.
Nathan Reynolds earned a spot on the podium in the mens expert 35 to 39 division, placing second. Scott Tanner was 19th in the mens expert 45 to 49 class. J.C. Norling was 12th in the mens expert 50 to 59. Evan Soard was a part of a mens duo team that placed 34th and Ben Brown a part of a team that was 39th.
As for Boniface, now 46 years old, she said she knows her time at the top can’t last forever.
“Honestly, third, that felt like a victory,” she said.
She hung with the eventual second-place finisher, Evelyn Dong, for the first lap then fended off any other challengers in the final lap to place third.
Marlee Dixon won the race in 4 hours, 25 minutes and 45 seconds. Boniface was in at 4:36:06.
“One of these summers, I’ll ask my body to go,” she said, “and it will say, ‘Are you insane?’”
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