Steamboat Stinger 50-mile mountain bike race set for July

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— Even though it’s only weeks away, Steamboat Spring’s summer of cycling won’t stop growing.

The city recently picked up a big addition to its calendar in the Steamboat Stinger 50-mile mountain bike race, which will take place July 24 on Emerald Mountain.

“We’ve talked for a couple of years about doing something fun in Steamboat, and it all came together this year,” said Len Zanni, of Honey Stinger, which will sponsor the race. “It will have a fun format that takes advantage of those trails on Howelsen and Emerald, and we’re super psyched.”

The event patterns itself after other 50-mile races that have grown popular in Colorado in the past couple of years. It will be similar in format and execution to the Gunnison Growler and the Firecracker 50, which is in Breckenridge.

Riders will take off on two 25-mile laps on Emerald Mountain trails, including the new Cow Creek Trail, which was competed in fall.

It should be challenging, but organizers aren’t seeking to have a field of beaten-up, worn-out riders, either.

“Our goal was to create a course that would be hard enough for a really serious racer, but also laid back enough for someone who just wanted to try a long-distance race format,” Zanni said. “We want to cater to the hard-core racer and the local who rides a lot and loves the local trails.”

The race will offer a tip of the cap to the less-than-serious in the form of a duo category, with one rider getting each lap.

Registration for the event is open at www.prerace.com. More information also is available at www.honeystinger.com/steamboatstinger.

Zanni said he expects the race to be a hit, even in its first year.

“So many of these races are filling up, we think there’s a demand for another one,” he said. “People really like them because they’re lower key and represent a good value.

“Steamboat’s a great venue for it, with the course being so close to downtown and all the restaurants, shops and businesses in there.

 To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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