Riders work their way up the Steamboat Stinger course Saturday. The event drew more than 500 riders to compete either on relay teams or solo on the 50-mile course that looped around Emerald Mountain above downtown.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Riders work their way up the Steamboat Stinger course Saturday. The event drew more than 500 riders to compete either on relay teams or solo on the 50-mile course that looped around Emerald Mountain above downtown.

Steamboat riders dominate women's duo at 3rd annual Stinger mountain bike race

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Past Event

Running Series: Steamboat Stinger

  • Sunday, August 18, 2013, 7:30 a.m.
  • Howelsen Hill, 845 Howelsen Parkway, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $45 - $65

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— Sometimes the old adage “it's like riding a bike” remains ever true.

It’s all the more true for a rider like Kelly Boniface.

The mountain bike stud has been absent from the top of podiums and results sheets this summer.

Competitors have wondered where she was.

For Boniface, life, business and family became the priority this summer. So instead of spending her summer at event after event and on podium after podium, Boniface’s chief title this year has been mom.

“It’s just life,” Boniface said.

Of course, once a top-flight mountain biker, always an athlete.

Boniface made her return to racing Saturday at the third annual Steamboat Stinger, competing with fellow Steamboat resident Hannah Williams to blow away the women’s duo category.

The two finished the 50-mile race — most riders had it at 52 miles — in 5 hours, 1 minute and 38 seconds, or nearly 42 minutes better than the second-place team.

“It took a while to get warmed up,” Boniface said. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the first climb.”

Boniface has spent the summer with her children and helping coach the middle school girls on the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club mountain biking team.

With her husband, Pete, rebranding the couple's business from Backcountry Provisions to Backcountry Delicatessen, her weekends have been filled with mom duties.

It doesn’t mean she hasn’t ridden; it just hasn't been with a particular goal in mind. Instead, the summer has been about enjoying the riding.

On Saturday, she and Williams clearly were the class of the women’s duo. Despite being relatively new to mountain biking, Williams crushed the second lap.

The duo won by so much, official time keepers double, triple and quadruple checked the times because it just didn’t seem right.

“Going forward, it will be a couple races a year,” Boniface said. “I love it. I can’t retire. I’ll always be a mountain biker.”

As Boniface had her story, so did the other 560 riders in a sold-out field. The race has grown each year and has become one of the hottest entries in Colorado.

Racers tackled a pair of 25-mile loops either alone or as part of a team.

And after rain threatened last year’s race, it was the heat that proved to be the biggest challenge this year.

As temperatures crept toward 90 degrees, the second lap of the race proved brutal. Lots of racers complained about cramps because of the heat.

Racers said the Stinger is not just another mountain bike race.

It’s turning into a premier event in the state.

“We had no idea the first year,” said Len Zanni, president of marketing for Honey Stinger. “It’s a testament to the great course and great trails.”

For the second year in a row, Colorado Springs’ Russ Finsterwald took the men’s pro race, finishing in a blazing 4:07:58. Steamboat’s Pete Kalmes was fourth in 4:11:18.

Evelyn Dong won the women’s pro race in 4:49:18. Steamboat’s Tammy Jacques was fourth in 5:07:02.

In the men’s singlespeed division, Samuel Morrison won in 4:38:16, and Steamboat’s Karen Tremaine was first in 5:27:50 on the women’s side.

Ian Anderson and Greg Strokes won the men’s duo in 4:33:43, and Megan Carrington and Taylor Carrington won the coed duo in 4:45:29.

“Oh, for sure I’ll be back,” said Finsterwald, who leaves Tuesday for the World Championships in South America. “It’s my favorite race of the year. It’s good riding in Colorado and good singletrack.”

The event continues with a marathon and half-marathon Sunday. The marathon begins at 7:30 a.m., and the half follows at 7:40 a.m.

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

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