Steamboat Springs The meaning of “X” in Steamboat’s newest bike-race series, Enduro X, is a frequent topic of conversation for series founder and director David Scully.
“People ask ‘Is it extreme? Is it extra cool?'" Scully said.
He’s hoping the series proves to be a little bit of both, though a sense of mystery and excitement about the letter and the series may sum it up well. The Enduro X series is set to hit Steamboat Springs on June 15 and 16, the first of two summer weekends of competition. Those events will be built into two bike-heavy portions of the Steamboat summer calendar.
“The more you can overlap with different groups, the more awareness you can create and the more familiar people are with what you have going on, the better,” Scully said.
The June version of Enduro X will be grouped in a weekend packed with biking goodness. School will end for Steamboat Springs students June 12 and Steamboat Ski Area’s summer trails are scheduled to open with a scholarship day June 13, then more June 14. The Enduro X series kicks off at 10 a.m. June 15 on the trails above the Steamboat base area while the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Bike Swap will begin at 11 a.m. in Gondola Square. Meanwhile, a plethora of other events for children, from a dual slalom race to a tires, brakes and chain safety check, will be ongoing near the base.
June 16 then brings the second day of Enduro X racing along with children’s pump track event.
“It will be a total bike fun-fest,” said Blair Seymour, director of the Winter Sports Club’s cycling programs. “It should be a great way to kick off the season.”
Scully’s motivation for a Steamboat-specific Enduro series came from a local stop by a national enduro racing series last summer. That event didn’t register as a major summer hit in town, in part because it fell on a weekend already brimming with similar events. It won’t return, but Scully said the riding style of enduro racing still can catch on big in Steamboat Springs.
Enduro racing generally only times riders on the descent, stopping the clock on their particular race when they are forced to climb a slope.
“You’re not penalized for riding slower uphill, so it's great if you’re not one of the super-fit cross-country mountain biking guys,” Scully said. “It’s great for me. I don’t quite have the fitness I used to, really suffer on the uphill portions, but I just love the downhill momentum and gravity aspects of the sport.
“I think there are a lot of cross-country racers who don’t even know they’re enduro athletes yet.”
The plan, Scully said, is to help those riders reach that conclusion.
He’s hoping to get at least 60 racers for the June dates, appealing to a local population that may be eager for such a series, and to out-of-town racers willing to travel to ride.
Each day of racing will include multiple laps on the downhill and cross-country trails at Steamboat Ski Area, circuits broken up by an untimed ride up the gondola.
The first two days of competition are in June, and two more follow Aug. 17 and 18, anchored in a “Steamboat Bike Week” that will include the USA Pro Challenge’s swing into Steamboat and the Steamboat Stinger race.
“I took in some of the criticisms of what I heard bout last year’s event, that riders wanted more of the downhill challenges without being penalized for uphill sections,” he said. “I looked at some of the classic cross-country trails we have that are just fun to ride, plus this new downhill trails, and I tried to blend them so riders could experience them both.”
There is at minimum a $5,500 cash purse to be paid out throughout the series.
Registration currently is available at www.enduro-xrace.com. Signing up for a single race runs between $40 and $70 depending on the level of competition. A weekend costs between $75 and $130, and riders can sign up for the the whole series for between $140 and $250.
Scully said a strong first-year could just be the start, too, so that as much as anything else is best defined with an “X.”
“We’d like to build on the series concept and maybe have events that aren’t enduro specific,” he said. “We have some great opportunities.”
Winter Sports Club organizers also are hoping the bike swap can take advantage of a bike-centric focus June 15.
The organization took over the event this summer from Routt County Riders because, as Seymour put it, “they know we know how to run swaps.”
Now, the club is hoping the bike swap can be a summer answer to its popular Ski Swap that hits the town in the autumn.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Gondola Square. It will cost $5 to enter a bike, or a 10-by-10 space can be rented to display more equipment for $20. Any bike worth less than $25 will be free to enter.
The club will take a 10 percent cut on any sales as much as $1,000.
All proceeds will go to support the Winter Sports Club cycling programs and the Routt County Riders trail maintenance efforts.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com