Steamboat Stinger returns, brings new block party
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Course marking leads Rob Peterson and Nate Bird will traverse Emerald Mountain on Thursday, Aug. 8, planting trail markers, arrows and wrong way signs along the course of the ninth annual Steamboat Stinger, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 10, and Sunday, Aug. 11.
The Stinger, which is hosted by Honey Stinger, is a staple in the Steamboat Springs community, drawing endurance mountain bikers and runners. On Saturday, riders will take off on a 50-mile race, and Sunday, runners will compete in either a half- or full marathon using the same route.
“It’s really popular in the bike world,” race organizer Katie Black said. “It’s growing popularity on the running side. The bike race always sells out, and this is the highest number of runners we’ve ever had.”
More than 1,000 athletes are expected to compete over both days.
The course, which winds through singletrack on Emerald Mountain, has no major changes. Bikers will pedal two laps of a 26.2-mile course, which will also serve as Sunday’s marathon course. The half-marathon course won’t see the backside of Emerald, descending as soon as they hit Ridge Trail.
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As runners reach the top of Emerald before heading back down or running along the backside of the mountain, they’ll meet Peterson, of Big Agnes, and Bird, of Honey Stinger, at the Ridge Aid Station.
The pair will hand out Stinger products, snacks, water and more throughout both race days.
“Us, as racers, know what endurance athletes kind of need, so it’s fun to give back,” Peterson said.
The top aid station sees bikers four times over two laps and marathon runners twice as they reach the station and then return from the backside of Emerald. For the half-marathon runners, they just breeze by before running downhill. Peterson said some of those runners just need a high five and some water.
For the second straight year, the race will feature a Bumble Bee race, where two bikers combine to complete the mountain bike race, making it a slightly easier version of the competitive Queen Bee and King Bee races. For those, a competitor must compete in both events, the 50-mile bike race and the marathon.
Helping runners through the forecasted 80-degree heat will be water sprayers throughout the course.
Like most Steamboat events, not only does the Stinger attract locals, but visitors looking to race and spend the weekend in town.
“For our community, it’s just another event that stands out by the amount of people that come for it,” Peterson said. “They’re here for the weekend. They’re not here to race and get out.”
Waiting for finishers at the line is a post-race party, with a beer garden, food, vendors, live music and prizes.
All race proceeds will go to two local causes, Partners of Routt County and the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund.
A new addition to the Steamboat Stinger is a block party, open to all locals, participating or not. The event will take place at the start/finish area at Howelsen Hill from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Those who show up in any type of Steamboat Stinger gear will receive a free beer.
“It’s a super fun race. We take a lot of pride in putting it on,” Peterson said. “We hope that one year, if you haven’t done it, you try racing with a partner and check it out. Maybe one day you do it as a solo. If racing isn’t your thing and you want to give back to your community, being a volunteer is huge. We need a ton of volunteers to help make this happen.”
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