Steamboat Springs Kelly Boniface opened the eyes of hundreds of Front Range riders Saturday. She said she even surprised herself a little.
Riding in just her second race of the year, Boniface won the Front Range 50, a 50-mile endurance mountain bike race in Lakewood.
“I was really surprised to win. I hadn’t even ridden 50 miles on dirt yet this year,” she said. “I had a great day.”
The early-season race attracted a large field of riders, most from the Front Range. The course sent riders on five 10-mile circuits of the Bear Creek Lake Regional Park.
That all added up for a difficult challenge, Boniface said.
“It was really crowded, but it was actually really hard to pass,” she said. “The first lap is one of the more frustrating parts of a race I’ve had. I was stuck behind people and trying to get by.”
She finally found ways to do that, however, and climbed into third place on the second lap. She caught the lead pack and let loose one more kick.
“I figured ‘I’ll just try it, make an attack here and see who chases me,’” she said. “I took off, and no one went with me. I just really hammered it for the third and fourth laps, and on the fifth, I was just hanging on, running on fumes. They didn’t catch me, though, and I won.”
Boniface led the way for a strong contingent of Steamboat riders.
Brad Bingham was fourth in the men’s race, less than two minutes off the lead. He was third in the same race last year.
“It’s one of the fastest mountain bike races you’ll ever do, but it is kind of fun,” Bingham said. “It almost turned into a time trial. I was out there by myself, no one to work with. I was chasing a couple guys but never got up to them.”