Steamboat Springs Peter Kalmes’ accolades in the Steamboat Springs biking community are well-known.
The Honey Stinger rider hasn’t lost a Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series in two seasons. His ability on a bike, especially to climb, has been well-documented.
But Kalmes is first and foremost a complete cyclist.
So on a picturesque Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area, Kalmes found himself at home on the podium, but this time it wasn’t among the Wednesday night Town Challenge crowd.
He won the Rawhide Enduro race, the first of four Enduro-X races this summer.
“It’s not a cross-country race I found out,” Kalmes said. “It’s pinning it. You feel the first lap. But it was an all-out race. Today the third (run) was all the climbing.”
The Enduro-X series continues Sunday with the Rustlers Ridge Enduro, a two-stage race.
Saturday’s race included three stages, all differing.
The first run started at the top of the gondola and went down Rawhide to Tenderfoot and finally to Creekside. The second run had riders from Rawhide to Tenderfoot and to the Wrangler Gulch trailhead. From there, it went down Buckin’ Bronc to the base. Finally, the third run went down Elkhead to Moonlight to Spur run. Riders climbed to the Valley View trailhead before descending down.
The art of enduro racing involves a lot of factors. It’s certainly about the downhill, but riders are asked to climb in between.
The choice of bike is imperative. A heavy downhill bike would crush riders on ascents. For Kalmes, who had done one other downhill race in his life, he wasn’t sure what to expect in his first enduro.
“When you’re doing a hug cross-country race, you climb a couple thousand feet vertically and then go down,” he said. “With this, you can be fresh mentally and not be tired making your way down.”
The race was the first of four in Steamboat in the ever-growing sport of enduro racing. More than 50 riders came out Saturday, marking the sport's inclusion into the Steamboat cycling scene.
The series should be popular as it incorporates both types of riding.
“Downhillers here are going toward a little more cardio,” said Tony Achilli, who won the amateur men’s 30 to 39 division. “It’s super fun. This is a lot of fun. Look at Peter. He is winning the Town Challenge and now is putting them both together.”
Kalmes won the three-run race with a time of 44 minutes, 58.53 seconds. Brad Cole was second in 47:49.84, and Josh Enck was third in 47:59.28.
Yvonne Delahunty won the women’s event in 52:26.49. Amy Scherm was second in 55:19.43, and Carla Hukee was third in 57:19.09.
The event continues Sunday with the first run starting at 9 a.m. There will be an awards ceremony at noon at the base area.
See complete results here.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com