Steamboat’s Williams looks to be ‘Queen Bee’
Steamboat's Hannah Williams taking on mountain bike race and marathon this weekend
August 10, 2012
Athletes competing in both the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike and marathon races
Sean Mac Millan
Steamboat Springs — There is an eeriness, an almost calm self-assurance, about Hannah Williams’ lack of nerves.
Honestly, she says, she will finish.
Williams, 29, is one of 14 athletes looking to be crowned King Sting or Queen Bee this weekend at the second annual Steamboat Stinger 50-mile mountain bike race and the inaugural Steamboat Stinger marathon running race.
She'll do both, hopping on her mountain bike early Saturday morning and completing 50 miles of gorgeous, but challenging, Emerald Mountain singletrack.
Then Sunday, she'll complete one lap and 26.2 miles on the same trails.
Is she crazy?
Not by her terms, and considering she is simply using the weekend’s events as a hard, aided-training session, Williams’ calmness is perhaps justified.
"I'm not at all nervous that I won't finish both," she said. "It's not a matter of finishing, it's a matter of trying to do both fast."
Williams has always been a runner, first growing up in Montana and falling in love with the serenity running brought her.
She continued a running career at California State University in Monterey Bay, where she ran cross-country.
Sunken by the California scene, she came to Steamboat in 2006 looking to move and work in a ski town.
She found what she was looking for, as well as like-minded runners. With the vast trail system around Steamboat, she easily fit in. And as she got to know more people, she started running longer distances.
In 2009 she ran her first marathon. But the beating of the pavement was no match to the draw of trail running.
"I always liked jogging and trail running. It's the simplicity of it," she said. "When you are out on the trail there is nothing. It's just you. You depend on nothing but yourself."
With added distance came moving toward ultra running. In the past two years she has been a fixture on the Steamboat Springs Running Series and has completed two 50-mile runs and a pair of 50-kilometer runs.
Before this summer she decided 50 miles wasn't enough. So she targeted the 100-mile Run Rabbit Run Ultra Marathon in September. It'll be her first 100-mile run.
"I've done 50s," she said. "I just want to push myself to see if I can."
Which leads her to Saturday. With a little more than a month until the Sept. 14 Run Rabbit Run race, Williams' training schedule called for a hard training session.
So what could be better than racing in a controlled environment complete with aid stations.
As an added challenge, Williams only began mountain biking in April.
She, however, has the uncanny ability to not worry about new things. To her, mountain biking is just another challenge to overcome.
"I thought 'I want to learn how to mountain bike,'" she said. "How else am I going to learn if I don't push myself?"
So she will line up Saturday, ride 50 miles and then hydrate. She said she'll take an ice bath and get rest between events.
Then Sunday, she'll do what she does best.
And it's not just a matter of finishing for Williams.
"I think I am (competitive) when I race," she said. "When I run by myself I never push myself hard. When I'm in a race situation I go all out. I think that's probably my competitive nature."
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com