Steamboat riders fare well in 24-hour race

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One day, Kris Cannon says she'll compete solo in her second 24-hour race. The next day, she changes her mind.

Regardless of whether she chooses to ride another 24-hour mountain bike race, Cannon won her first solo race in the 24 Hours in the Sage at Hartman Rocks in Gunnison.

Cannon won with 15 laps in a 24-hour period extending from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. Cannon, who also competes in adventure races, was a lap ahead of the field.

"In some ways, adventure racing definitely helped," Can--non said. "Having been awake at night helped. I had never been on my bike that long before. I definitely looked forward to seeing my support guys every lap."

Cannon said she would not have competed without the proper support crew. The race wasn't Cannon's first 24-hour competition, but she usually competes as part of a team. Most of her teammates recently had babies, forcing Cannon to go it alone -- at least on the bike.

She wasn't the only Steam--boat mountain biker to do well in Gunnison. A group of locals -- Jon Freckleton, Nate Juden and Brad White -- won the men's four division and was the top overall team, completing 25 laps. Teammate Matt Hannon is from Fort Collins. Another group of men, The Drymouth Guys, finished third in the men's four division. The team members were Paolo Guidi, Bill Martorano, Rob Peterson and Nate Bird.

Local rider Chrissie Hodges also competed in the solo women's division with Cannon.

"Everybody out there was so encouraging," Cannon said. "Brad came by me, but he only passed me once. A couple other boys (from Steamboat) would pass me and yell out words of encouragement."

Cannon said she just wanted to finish, but she did seek advice from experienced 24-hour racer Katie Lindquist before heading to Gunnison.

"She just said don't go to sleep," Cannon said. "I hadn't planned on it. I kept feeling good and kept going. I came in to change lights and eat and kept riding. I ate while I was riding. That's what I've learned from adventure racing -- to keep moving."

The 24 Hours in the Sage course is not as difficult as the 24 Hours of Steamboat course with regards to elevation gain. The course in Gunnison was between 12 and 13 miles long and gained 1,100 feet, compared to the almost 2,200 vertical feet gained in the 24 Hours of Steamboat at Steamboat Ski Area.

"It was kind of like a middle-ring course," Cannon said of the Gunnison course. "There wasn't any granny gear. Every time you would finish an uphill, you would have a downhill. You weren't disliking any part of the course. ... Steamboat did awesome. That was so cool."

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