Steamboat Springs rider Mindy Mulliken rips down Emerald Mountain on Saturday at the Ride For Dirt fundraiser. Mulliken won the women's 25-mile ride.

Photo by Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs rider Mindy Mulliken rips down Emerald Mountain on Saturday at the Ride For Dirt fundraiser. Mulliken won the women's 25-mile ride.

Steamboat Springs' Emerald Mountain hosts Ride For Dirt fundraiser



Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs' Robin Craigen descends a trail on Emerald Mountain on Saturday during the Ride For Dirt fundraiser. The event benefitted Routt County Riders trails committee, which works to maintain, repair and build singletrack trails throughout the area.

— It’s a timeless and ubiquitous question.

Stuck on an island, what Steamboat Springs singletrack trail would you bring with you?

There can be only one. No connectors, no grouping of trails, and no, Kelly Boniface, you can’t take all of Emerald Mountain with you.

Trevor Walz would take the stretch of the Continental Divide Trail that runs from Rabbit Ears Pass to Buffalo Pass. He describes it as the quintessential and most exceptional singletrack stretch in the area. It rolls through meadows, past lakes and allows for some serious backcountry serenity.

“It’s everything,” he said.

Barkley Robinson would take the Beall Trail on the back side of Emerald Mountain for its two-way access, challenging but fair climb, and fun descent.

Jeff Snook would stick with Larry’s Trail on the front side of Emerald because it's fun heading both up and down.

“You can rip both ways,” he said.

Boniface, after a slight argument about taking all of Emerald, settled with MRP, because if she can only take one, it’s got to be one of the longest. MRP is a locals favorite in the Mad Creek/Hot Springs area.

Clint Ball agreed.

“It feels like an epic adventure,” he said. “You have a lot of variety.”

Karen Tremaine would take Molly’s Trail, also on the front side of Emerald. It’s not just that it’s out her backyard, but also that it’s a like an amusement park ride.

“It’s swoopy and fun,” she said. “It feels like skiing. I love that feeling.”

The varied choices from Steamboat riders underscore what's great about the trail system in Steamboat. It’s hard to pick just one. It’s a biking paradise set in a mountain town.

And it’s why riders say events like Saturday’s Ride For Dirt are so important.

In its inaugural year, the ride benefited the Routt County Riders bicycle club's trails committee. The committee has done nine trail days this summer, focusing on maintaining and repairing trails throughout the area.

All told, the committee will have 10 trail work days. They maintain the trails, do the upkeep and fix whatever is necessary. They also look at the possibility of creating new trails.

“What is your favorite trail worth? It’s my new favorite saying,” said Gretchen Sehler, who organized the event and works closely with the RCR trail committee. “Everything has a cost. So get involved.”

Saturday’s inaugural event featured 47 competitors and more than 15 volunteers. It had a 25-mile, two-lap ride or a 12.5-mile, one-lap ride.

Walz was the top finisher in the 25-mile option, riding it in 2 hours, 1 minute and 18 seconds. Robinson was second in 2:13:06, and Nelson Carmichael was third in 2:19:06. Mindy Mulliken was the first woman in 2:38:56, and Liz Baldwin was second in 2:45:25.

But there was an overwhelming sense that Saturday wasn’t about the podium. For the riders who showed up, it was a simple, easy and fun way to give back to the organization that gives them endless pleasure.

“It’s the locals' playgrounds that we’re protecting,” Sehler said. “Then for the tourists as well. Hopefully we develop an economy for Steamboat.”

For more information about Routt County Riders, or to join, donate or participate in a trail work day, click here.

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


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