10th annual Ski Haus Continental Divide trail run
1. Todd Trapp 1:56:59
2. Nate Anderson 2:09;06
3. Dan Tomlin 2:12:15
1. Jenna Gruben 2:26:24
2. Lisa Mills 2:28:15
3. Karen Lapides 2:37:42
Steamboat Springs Matt Bickhard didn't travel to Steamboat Springs to hike, but that's exactly what the Kansas runner found himself doing Sunday morning as he made his way through the demanding first six miles of the 10th annual Ski Haus Continental Divide trail run.
Todd Trapp, of Craig, won the race in just under 2 hours. Jenna Gruben, of Steamboat Springs, won the women's race in just under 2 1/2 hours on the Fish Creek Falls, Long Lake and Mount Werner course.
The experience was eye-opening for Bickhard.
A Rocky Mountain trail run has been on Bickhard's to-do list for years, he said, and Sunday's Steamboat event seemed to fit the bill. After running a painfully flat, hot and humid 10-mile race several weeks ago in Kansas, he decided he could wait no longer.
"It was 90 degrees and humid, and I said 'Screw it. I'm going where there's no humidity,'" Bickhard said.
He didn't find any humidity in Steamboat, but he did find a challenge. The trail passed Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake before cutting back through the Steamboat Ski Area to finish near the top of the gondola.
"It was mostly hiking for me, up to the first-aid station," Bickhard said. "It was a hard hike."
To his credit, he said he still was proud of his decision halfway through the course.
"I was stopping to take pictures all the time," said Bickhard, who finished the 16-mile run in 3 hours, 4 minutes and 49 seconds. "They said this was supposed to be a scenic trail, and it was everything I wanted it to be. It was just so cool - waterfalls and everything."
Trapp takes five
Trapp had a decidedly different race experience. He certainly didn't stop for pictures.
The Moffat County High School track coach won his fifth Steamboat Springs Running Series event of the summer without much competition. He finished the 16-mile course in 1:56:59, 12 minutes ahead of second-place Nate Anderson, who finished at 2:09:06. Dan Tomlin was third at 2:12:15.
Trapp said he came across all the same pitfalls the other racers noted, including the grueling climb from the Fish Creek Falls parking lot and the tough switchbacks leading from the second set of waterfalls.
"It was pretty tough, climbing all the way up to the lake. I had to be careful not to go out too hard," Trapp said. "Then, after that, it was a lot of rolling. I just let it go."
Gruben, too, said the race was exactly what she'd been looking for. An avid trail runner, Gruben raced roughly the same course just two weeks ago as a part of the Mountain R.A.T.S. four-day stage race.
In comparison, Sunday's race seemed like a pleasant little jog, she said.
"This time, I felt great. I felt light and fast," Gruben said. "The weather was great and I was rested, and I just love this course. It's the best race in the running series."
Lisa Mills was second on the women's side, finishing at 2:28:15. Karen Lapides was third at 2:37:42.
In all, 55 runners took part in the race, registrations holding steady from years past, organizer Vicki Oyster said.
Racers will face similar challenges when the running series returns. The next race is the Sept. 7 10K at 10,000 feet, another trail run that should offer incredible views and high-altitude challenges.
- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253