Steamboat summer running, biking series dates approaching |

Steamboat summer running, biking series dates approaching

Inga Palmquist, 4, and Erika Palmquist, 3, survey the Yampa River Core Trail in Steamboat Springs on a sunny Friday afternoon in May as they work on their bicycling skills. Summer sports are descending on Steamboat quickly, and competition series such as the Steamboat Springs Running Series and Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series aren't far off. Dirt trails still are too muddy and snowy for use, however.

— Even as winter and spring trade blows in Steamboat Springs, summer events steadily approach, and the first race in the Steamboat Springs Running Series is only one week away.

The Hayden Cog Run will kick the 13-race series off May 11.

The Cog Run has been bumped around plenty in recent years, and this year it's going early, far earlier than it has in the past. It will kick off the series with a 5-kilometer jaunt in addition to the signature 8.4-mile haul up the steep Cog Road.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. from Hayden Town Park. The 5K course stretches across flat or rolling ground. The Cog Run, meanwhile, is about one-third steep climbing and one-third steep descending, lifting runners above the Yampa Valley before dropping them right back down on an out-and-back route.

Each race costs $25 and comes with awards for top-three finishers, a T-shirt, food from Backcountry Delicatessen and a prize raffle. Registration is available at

The Spirit Challenge, with 10K and 5K lengths, follows one week later on May 18, and the Steamboat Marathon looms June 2. The first trail race of the Running Series schedule also was bumped forward several weeks. Now, the Howelsen Hill 8-miler will be June 22 before the last road race, the July 6 Mountain Madness half-marathon and 10K.

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Several of the summer races are expected to fill up. The 50-mile version of the Run Rabbit Run ultramarathon likely will be the first. The race, with a $125 registration fee, is a little more than halfway to its 200-runner cap, with 93 spots remaining. Registration remains open for the 100-mile version at $275.

Registration also is open for the Steamboat Mad Mud Run, set for June 22 at Steamboat Ski Area. The price for that event already has jumped twice. Signing up before May 15 costs $65, plus $4.57 in fees. After May 15, it costs $75 plus $5.12 in fees. Sign-up is available at

The Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series also quickly is approaching. The first event, the Howlin' Howelsen cross-country race, is May 29. Races follow on June 12 and 26, July 10 and 24, and Aug. 7 and 14, alternating between Emerald Mountain and Mount Werner evenly throughout the season.

A Town Challenge season pass costs $140 for an adult and $50 for a child before May 24. For more information or to purchase a pass, go to

Trails still too muddy

The events might be coming, but it's not quite time to hit the trails. That’s the message from Gretchen Sehler, a member of the Routt County Riders trail committee and one of the main stewards of Emerald Mountain's summer trails.

"The trails are still closed to all user groups," she said Friday.

Continuing on muddy and snowy routes can create big problems, she explained. That goes for cyclists — one of whom she stopped headed up Emerald on Friday — as well as hikers and horseback riders.

"If you leave an imprint, it will collect water, dry that way and make the trail bumpy," she said. "The problem is you might run into a little wet spot and think, 'It's only 10 or 15 feet. It will be OK.' Then you hit another 10 or 15 feet and another, and pretty soon you're impacting the trail. If a hiker starts hiking around a mud spot, then they create a wider trail or another trail."

"It's not going to get drier further up the trail."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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