Steamboat Springs It took nearly four hours, but at the end of the Wildflower Rush cross-country race in Crested Butte last weekend, Steamboat Springs mountain bike racer Nate Bird reached a goal he has been chasing for years.
“I finally got my first podium in the men’s pro category,” Bird said Tuesday morning. “I’ve been chasing that goal for as long as I’ve been racing mountain bikes.”
Bird was within reach of race winner Travis Scheefer until the final stretch of the race June 26. Scheefer, the hometown favorite, beat Bird to the final downhill and took advantage of his familiarity with the course to pull away from the pack.
At the finish line, Bird (3:46:45) beat out Durango’s Drew Edsall (3:46:46) in a sprint to the finish for second place.
The two riders were less than a second apart at the end of the 40-mile race. The rest of the pack included Crested Butte rider Ethan Passant (3:50:09) and Durango’s Rotem Ishay (3:51:19).
Oak Creek rider Jamie Morgan was 23rd in the field of more than 40 professional riders.
Bird’s top finish highlighted a strong weekend for Steamboat riders at the event.
Kelly Boniface was fourth in the women’s professional field with a time of 4:25:20, and Tammy Jacques was fifth with a time of 4:26:38. Avon rider Gretchen Reeves won the women’s race in a time of 4:11:29.
Other top Steamboat finishers included Peter Kalmes, who was second in the men’s category 1 (19-29) division. Sam Chovan was eighth in that same division.
Linnea Dixson won the Category 1 (15 to 18) race, Patrick West was fifth in the men’s 40 to 49 Category 1 division, and Jeffrey Gay was seventh in the men’s category 2 (15 to 18). Alec Schaffer was 10th in the same division, Rose Alford was fourth in the women’s Category 1 (40 and older), and Koby Vargas capped off the results with a fifth in the junior mens (14 and younger) category of the Mountain States Cup race.
The event was the fourth race of the season for the Mountain States Cup.
This weekend, Bird and several other Steamboat riders will head to Breckenridge for the Firecracker 50. The race typically draws a field of 750 racers, including an elite field of professionals.
“I’m hoping to keep my string of top finishes going,” Bird said. “I would be happy with a top-10 finish in this race.”
Steamboat riders also dominated in the downhill race June 27, with Adam Carrera winning the men’s Category 2 (19 to 29). Geoff Hollister was 34th in the same division.
Other top finishes included Donny Leavitt’s third in the men’s Category 1 (40 and older), and Kyra Alexander’s third in the women’s Category 1.
Tony Achilli was second in the men’s Category 2 (30 to 39), and Jim Vanderbeek’s was 18th in men’s Category 3 (15 to 18).
Andrew Hitchcock was seventh, Reed Wipperfurth was 15th, Jack Vanderbeek was 20th, and Pike Wipperfurth was 26th in the junior mens (12 to 14) division.
Ned Kajko was second in the men’s Category 1 (19 to 29) division of the Mountain Cross and, Steamboat’s Ian Gale was fourth in the men’s 30 and older division of the super-D. Sam Chovan was fifth in the men’s 19 to 29 division, and Evan Weinman was 21st in the junior men’s division of that race.