Steamboat Stinger returns to Emerald Mountain for 2nd year

Saturday's 50-mile bike race to be followed by marathon and half-marathon on Sunday

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If you go

What: Steamboat Stinger mountain bike race, marathon and half-marathon

When: Bike race begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. Marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday

Where: All races begin at the base of Howelsen Hill

More info: www.honeystinger.com/steamboatstinger

— Saturday is an interesting day in mountain bike racing.

Sure, there will be 2,000 people lining up at the legendary Leadville Traill 100 Mountain Bike Race.

But who wants to ride mostly fire road?

Instead, racers can choose a course made up of 90 percent singletrack up, down and around Emerald Mountain.

The second annual Steamboat Stinger hits town Saturday with its signature 50-mile mountain bike ride.

If there is any doubt that the event is here to stay, registration for the mountain bike race sold out in a week and a half.

“It was a real mountain bike race,” said Alex Grant, who won the men’s open division last year, blazing the course in 4 hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds. “It just had a ton of singletrack. There were great climbs and descents and no pavement and very little dirt road. To me, that’s a real mountain bike race.”

The first-year success also bred a new race. On Sunday, the inaugural Steamboat Stinger marathon and half-marathon running races will take place.

The bike race, which features two 25-mile laps for soloists or two-person teams, begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The first wave of marathoners go off at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

The bike race is full with a total of 500 solo riders and duo racers. Registration is still available for the running races. Those interested can sign up from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Olympian Hall. As of Thursday, the running races had 225 registrants.

For course details, click here.

“The trails are great for trail running,” said Len Zanni, marketing executive of Honey Stinger. “In Year 2, we thought, let’s reach out to a different audience. The back side of the course up the Beall Trail, people will be really impressed.”

“We think we stumbled upon a pretty good format for a race,” Zanni said. “It’s a combination of high-quality trails with a venue close to town.”

Because of the races, the back side of Emerald Mountain will be closed Saturday and Sunday — specifically the Ridge Trail, Beall Trail and Cow Creek Road. The front side of Emerald remains open. Maps with information about the course will be posted at the bottom of the mountain, and other trail users are asked to stay off the course. For more information about the trail closures on the back side of Emerald Mountain, call the Bureau of Land Management's Little Snake Field Office at 970-826-5000.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday

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