Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Kris Cannon, left, won the 24 Hours in the Sage mountain bike race in Gunnison last weekend. Nate Bird, right, worked her support tent during the race as Cannon built a five lap, 75-mile lead.
Sharp pain surged through her back and her knee with every push on the pedals.
But that didn't stop Steamboat Springs resident Kris Cannon on Saturday and Sunday as she rode in the 24 Hours in the Sage mountain bike race in Gunnison.
The fact that she had a tremendous lead didn't slow her very much, either. Cannon won the women's division of the grueling race by a whopping five laps, or nearly 75 miles.
"I was hoping to get a couple more laps, but had really bad knee and back problems in this race, so I took it easy and took it on an easier gear," said Cannon, who also won the Gunnison race in 2005.
Despite the difficulties, Cannon finished 14 laps in what she described as a fun, rolling course - plenty enough to beat Heather Williams, who was second with nine laps completed.
The event was Cannon's only second such ride this summer, but also a part of her plan to build up for October's 24 Hours of Moab race in Utah.
Her fastest loop on the roughly 15-mile course was her first, which took 1 hour, 11 minutes and 37 seconds. By the end of the event, her comfortable lead and ever-present pains helped hike her times closer to 2 hours.
None of that could get her stopped, however, and she took only a few minutes of rest throughout the entire race.
"I was ahead pretty early on. My sister (Stacy Cannon) and Nate Bird were there doing support for me, so I had them every time I came in," she said. "Their helping me out and sending me back out was a huge help."
Steamboat-area rider Eddie Keiser also had plenty of success at Gunnison, winning the men's 12-hour race.
A Steamboat-based four-person men's team of Dave Gale, Tadius Huser, Bill Martorano and Rob Peterson was third in their division, with 21 laps.