Spoke Talk: A tradition continues | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: A tradition continues

As the last summer holiday, Labor Day can mark the end of the summer and the beginning of fall. August held the Steamboat Stinger, with a big race field and huge spectator group. As a premier, one-day race, it deserves some attention. Even more noteworthy, the women’s combined title (race and run) was won by our own chica-extraordinaire, Moots rider, Kelly Boniface.

This year’s Steamboat Springs Stage Race features our own who’s who. Susie Jones will compete in the pro 1-2 women’s race; a local father/son duo, Dave and Simon Zink, will line up for race fun; and, of course, Jim Barker, of the Green Co., will be there. We’ll see former Olympian Nelson Carmichael, telemark racer Tanner Visnick and last, but not least, Ken and LeeAnn Benesh.

SSSR is a magnificent, three-day event of hard racing. Racers from several surrounding states attend, with many coming from Denver and Fort Collins. Saturday is a pretty punishing race, a time trial — the exact opposite of a time trial I always survived, the Frostbite in Snohomish, Washington, at the end of February. I remember praying to see the sun, but reality says, “Not until August.”

Day two is a pure road race. The 46-, 62- and 80-mile courses take riders out and back on the challenging terrain west of Steamboat Springs. The 46-mile climbs 3,600 feet, the 62-mile sees 4,400 feet of climbing and an awful 6,600 feet of climbing characterizes the 80-mile race, which also features a 15-mile out-and-back, known locally as the 3 “delightful ladies.”

Day three, the criterium, is in the heart of Steamboat and the best opportunity for spectators to watch racers suffer. The short and fast course on Oak and Pine streets will see racers all day. After a good time-trial and long road race, let’s punish ourselves with an hour of intense racing? Sounds tougher than a single speed cyclo-cross race in a tutu.

Several local sponsors, an army of volunteers and the town of Steamboat make this race a huge success. We no longer have the USA Pro Challenge, but we’ve got SSSR, and it’s a good one. Racer quotes reinforce this fact.

“More professionally run than many of the NRC races I’ve done this year.”

“All I can say is, ‘Thank you for putting together such a fantastic event.’”

“As far as I am concerned, it’s the best race for amateur racing we have in Colorado.”

Come help, hang out and watch or sign up and suffer. Registration is available at bikereg.com/8th-annual-steamboat-springs-stage-race

Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. If you would like to help or would like more information, contact us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email rcriders@routtcountyriders.org.

Alan Perkins is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.

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