'Hero dirt' highlights Steamboat Springs enduro race stop

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Past Event

Big Mountain Enduro mountain bike race

  • Friday, July 20, 2012, 8 a.m.
  • Buffalo Pass, Forest Road 60, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $100

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— Keith Darner wasn’t trying to hedge his bets.

Darner, the race director for the Mountain States Cup series and Bigfoot Productions, firmly believes that enduro mountain bike racing isn’t just the next big thing.

From talking to riders, he says it’s what they want now.

“We’ve consistently had our riders in the Mountain States Cup say, 'Do more Super D races',” Darner said. “We just took it one step further.”

Super D races involve races down gentler downhill trails.

So Darner, who originally scheduled a Mountain States Cup event for Steamboat this summer before it was later cancelled, decided to create the Big Mountain Enduro Series.

The first stop takes place Sunday in Steamboat. Subsequent stops include the Sept. 2 Kennebec Pass Enduro in Durango and the Sept. 28 Enchilada Enduro in Moab, Utah.

The Buffalo Pass Enduro begins at the summit of Buffalo Pass in the main parking area. The course follows the Colorado/Wyoming Trail (1101) to the Fish Creek Falls Trail (1102) past Long Lake. It then takes the Mountain View Trail up to the top of the Steamboat Ski Area.

It’s all downhill from there. Riders will descend Pete’s Wicked Trail, Cathy’s Cutoff and the Sunshine Trail to the top of the gondola. They’ll then take advantage of the new downhill trails at the ski area, including Rustler’s Ridge to Valley View to lower Rustler’s Ridge to the top of Buckin’ Bronc and on down to the base.

All told there will be approximately 1,200 feet of climbing and 4,300 feet of descending.

“This is definitely the next big thing,” Darner said. “People are starting to do it all over the state at ski areas. It’s a little more unique and demanding.”

With bike-makers making 5- and 6-inch travel bikes that are strong, stiff and light, the advent of the enduro race just fits.

Enduro races, Darner said, play to the riders who crush ascents and are also technically skilled downhillers. In other words, they're for the all-around mountain biker.

“The more creative and more fun and more exciting you can make it, the better your participation will be,” Darner said.

There is still time to register. As of Wednesday 72 riders had signed up, with room for a total of 200.

Online registration is open until midnight Thursday. People can register by clicking here. The cost is $100.

Riders also can register in person from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Christy Sports in Gondola Square or from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the same location.

There are four racer categories: men’s and women’s pro/open divisions and men's and women's amateur divisions.

A mandatory riders meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday at Bear River Bar and Grill in Gondola Square. Racing then begins at 8 a.m. Sunday. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact David Scully at 970-846-5012.

Considering the recent moisture, Darner said the course is in phenomenal shape.

“It’s what we call 'hero dirt; in the mountain bike world,” he said. “It’s like a fat powder day out there.”

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

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