Steamboat Springs The trails on Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain are known as some of the best mountain biking venues in Colorado. But for the second time in a month, it'll be runners assaulting the slopes and courses of Steamboat's favorite summer playground.
The Howelsen Hill 8-Miler returns Saturday as a part of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, the seventh of the summer's 15 events.
The race will be far from the only show in town Saturday, and it's the race's alignment with Rainbow Weekend that has organizer Walter Magill excited for this year's potential.
"It's usually mostly local runners," said Magill, who helped start the race three years ago. "This year we expect a lot more Front Range people. It should be a good race."
Saturday's Howelsen Hill race comes two weeks after the U.S. Trail Running National Championships took over the hill, but this weekend's runners need not worry. While that trail took competitors straight up the face of Howelsen under the chairlift, Saturday's course will offer a much more manageable climb and the real grinding portions will be spread out through the 8-mile journey.
"It's really more of a tour of Howelsen on the trails," Magill said. "There is no repeat on the track. It loops from south to north, then across Howelsen."
In addition to the 8-mile main event, there will be a 4-mile run along much of the same terrain.
Both races start at 8 a.m. at Olympian Hall at the base of Howelsen Hill, and plenty of worthwhile prizes await the top finishers. The prizes will be one-day lift tickets to the Steamboat Ski Area.
"We will also have a raffle and post-race food from Winona's," Magill said. "I like to hear people's comments after they finish about running the trails, because a lot of people don't think to run them instead of bike them.
"People just enjoy this race. The trails are in terrific shape, and the course will be well marked."
- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail email@example.com