Steamboat Springs Kelly Boniface was well rested and focused as she left the starting line of a 68-mile marathon mountain bike race in Breckenridge on Sunday. She was even better a little more than six hours later when she crossed the finish line to win her division.
The race was part of the eighth annual Breckenridge 100, an ultra-marathon event that enticed several top riders to make the two-hour drive from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge.
“I took a vacation to the East Coast after the Fourth of July, so I had only been on my bike twice before the race,” Boniface said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turns out that I felt great.”
The Steamboat rider rode to the front of the pack in a race that used the second and third loops of the Breckenridge 100 — the anchor event for the weekend, which featured 100-, 68- and 32-mile races. All of the races started and finished in Breckenridge’s Carter Park.
Boniface finished the race in 6 hours, 29 minutes to top hometown favorite Jaime Brede in the women’s open class. Brede finished in 6 hours, 51 minutes.
“I didn’t have any expectations headed into the race,” Boniface said. “I was just looking for a long ride where I could have some fun. Turns out that I felt fantastic and my legs felt really good after being off the bike for a week.”
Boniface was one of several locals who turned in a top time at the Summit County event.
Other winners included Matthew Pronovost, who won the 32-mile half-marathon single speed division, and Steamboat’s Nate Bird, who teamed up with Denver rider Dax Massey and Park City, Utah, rider Nate Miller to win the team division in the 100-mile race. Their team finished with a time of 8 hours, 6 minutes to top the division. The next closest team was more than an hour off the pace.
“It’s just a fun format for a race like this,” Bird said about the team division. “You can go a lot harder because you don’t have to do the whole race by yourself, and it’s also cool to be a part of a team.”
The decision to race was a last-minute one for Pronovost, who had hoped to race in Breckenridge as part of the team event before things fell apart. Instead of skipping the race entirely, the Steamboat rider elected to take a shot in the single speed division.
“This was the first time I have ever raced in the event so I didn’t know what to expect,” Pronovost said.
He set his bike up based on elevations and a map of the course, but when he arrived at the starting line he realized that he had set up his bike in a higher gear than many of the other riders.
“It turned out that I got lucky,” Pronovost said. “I suffered a little bit on the climbs, but there were some flat sections near the finish line and I was able to pull away because I was geared a little higher than some of the other riders.”
Pronovost finished the 32-mile course in 3 hours, 3 minutes — a little more than two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Bryan Smalley.
Other top local finishers included Simon Demby-Myers, who was third in the 19-29 division of the 100-mile race with a time of 11 hours, 48 minutes. Fellow Steamboat rider Eddie Rogers was sixth in 13 hours, 34 minutes.
“It’s a super long ride,” Demby-Myers said. “It’s not so much about how fast you can ride, but whether you can survive.”