Steamboat Springs Sixteen laps, more than 208 miles and 24 hours all added up to another title for Steamboat Springs cyclist Kris Cannon at the 24 Hours in the Sage last weekend near Gunnison.
Cannon, who rides for the Honey Stinger/Trek team, collected her third consecutive victory at the endurance race and her fourth win there since 2005. Cannon completed 16 laps around the 13-plus mile course to win the solo women’s division. She said more than 200 top riders competed in men’s, women’s and coed divisions. There were categories for single speed, solo riders and two- and four-person teams.
“I was trying to do it a little differently this time around,” Cannon said about her approach. “I wanted to go out harder and see if I could complete more laps. It was a painful experience, but it worked.”
Cannon completed her 16th lap within the cutoff time, and she set a new mark for female racers by beating her previous record of 15 laps. The race began at noon Saturday and ended 24 hours later Sunday. During that span, Cannon was on her bike with the exception of short breaks after each lap to restock her water and food or to trade out bikes. Cannon said most stops were less than a minute and there was not time to rest even on her longer breaks.
“In a race like this you just want to keep moving,” Cannon said. “If you take too long of a break, you will want to go to sleep or simply stop riding.”
Cannon said she didn’t have any mechanical problems, and that after four of these races she has learned what it takes to keep going — lots of determination combined with a fair amount of caffeine.
On Monday, she said she was hungry and sore, but thrilled to have won another title at the Gunnison endurance race.
Other top local finishes at the event included Mike Sharkey, who was fourth in the men’s solo division, and Bo Randolph and Bec Bale, who finished second in the coed duo division. The Honey Stinger/Trek team of Rob Peterson, Essam Welch, Ryan Sullivan and JR Thompson finished fourth in the four-man, single speed division with 21 laps. Erin Vargas and Lisa Marno raced in the women’s team event along with a pair of Front Range racers, and Josh Enck raced in the men’s solo division.
This is the eighth year for the 24 Hours in the Sage mountain bike race, and Peterson is one of the few racers to have taken park in all eight races.
“I like everything about this race,” Peterson said. “It’s super fun; I like the people who put it together, and Gunnison is a great town.”
Peterson said he learned about the race while doing other 24-hour events eight years ago. Since then he has been putting teams together and traveling to Gunnison in August. Last year, his team won the event, but this year, the riders dealt with a number of mechanical issues en route to a fourth-place finish.
“We had a good race, but a couple of things didn’t go our way,” Peterson said.
At one point, Sullivan blew out a tire and had to ride the final leg of his lap on his rear rim. Peterson said it cost the team about 10 minutes.
“That’s a big part of mountain bike racing,” Petersen said. “Sometimes you have to overcome mechanical breakdowns and bad breaks.”
But despite the mechanical problems, Peterson and his teammates already are looking forward to next year’s race.
“This was my first time at this race,” Thompson said. “I would love to go back and do it again next year if I have the chance.”