Boniface relishes Epic ride |

Boniface relishes Epic ride

Steamboat mountain biker fourth in Breck race

Kelly Boniface powers up the trail last week during the Breck Epic six-day stage race near Breckenridge. She went on to finish fourth in the women's division
Courtesy/Michael Kane

— Some of it’s because of the relentless schedule of swim meets and soccer games for her two children, and some of it’s because she’s simply tired of short courses and mundane loops.

When Steamboat Springs mountain biker Kelly Boniface picks out a mountain bike race these days, she’s looking for as much bang as her buck can buy.

“I still love to race,” she said. “I just seek our more adventurous types of races, as opposed to the short, hour-and-20-minute lap courses.”

Riding on remote trails near 13,000 feet and doing it with a well-formed sisterhood — the small contingent of women willing to take on such a task — Boniface found exactly what she was looking for last week in the Breck Epic.

For the second consecutive year, Boniface finished fourth in the massive, six-day mountain bike stage race, one of two Steamboaters to shine in the race. Mindy Mulliken teamed with Dax Massey to win the co-ed duo division.

“We are riding in places most people will never see,” Boniface said. “There are mountain goats on the trail. You’re up there, and not only do you have to be fast, you have to ride smooth and ride clean. You don’t want to rip your derailleur off. You don’t want to slash your sidewall of your tire. There’s no team car that rolls up.”

Boniface finished 32 minutes and 10 seconds off the overall winner, Evelyn Dong. Marlee Dixon was second, 21:13 back, and Serena Gordon third, 28:30 back.

Four women with only half an hour of difference is no small thing, especially considering the next closest finisher was 3:17:14 off the lead.

Boniface and Gordon battled to the last stage, which Gordon won to finally cement her lead.

There were no lingering hard feelings.

“With the women, there are so few of us compared to the men,” Boniface said. “There’s a great sisterhood in it. We’re trying to beat each other. We’re racing just as hard as the men, but there are just fewer of us. We’re trying to win, but there’s a general sense of looking out for one another that you don’t find in a lot of other sports.”

Boniface is now a rare racer on the Town Challenge scene and too bored or too busy to hit up the tight schedule of races in the region that used to have her traveling every other weekend.

She’s far from done racing, however, and even though the Breck Epic’s winner was 15 years younger than she, she’s far from done being competitive.

“Life gets busy, and to race every weekend is just not for me,” she said. “I’d much rather pick a handful of awesome events I want to do, then do them well.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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