Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Enduro-X mountain bike race series is back for its second event of the summer season, this time with newer routes and hundreds of dollars in cash prizes up for grabs.
The Saturday-Sunday race is expected to bring between 85 and 95 mountain bikers, race director David Scully said. About half are Enduro-X series returnees, with the other half newcomers to the event held at Steamboat Ski Area mountain bike park and its overlooking trails.
After the untimed huge vertical trek to the starting point on Saturday’s course, riders will traverse Thunderhead, Elkhead Loop Road and Duster Road onto Lower Sunshine for the second stage.
That’s where things get a bit different. Racers will descend Pete’s Wicked Trail for the first time. In July’s Enduro-X series races, Pete’s was closed because of muddy conditions.
The second stage features some of the same, but with Lower Cathy’s in the mix. Stage 3 starts at Thunderhead, onto Tenderfoot, to Flying Diamond, back to Tenderfoot then to Creekside to the finish.
“The courses we have are great,” Scully said. “I spend a lot of time looking and building segments of trail and linking them together so they challenge the racers and are fun to ride.”
Sunday’s closing day features two stages. Stage 1 is identical to Saturday’s Stage 3. The final stage — Stage 2 — begins at Thurnderhead, onto Tenderfoot, to Rawhide then onto Wrangler Gulch. Riders will take Buckin’ Bronc onto Bull Rider to a viewer-friendly finish.
“You’ll probably see some pretty cool aerial stunts by these guys,” Scully said about the base-area ending.
With a handful of other mountain biking and road cycling events held throughout the weekend, Scully said the Enduro-X series attracts a different kind of rider.
Those taking on the 50-miler in Saturday’s Steamboat Stinger are built for the climb but perhaps not the rapid, roller-coaster descent, he said. Same goes for the cyclists competing in the Steamboat Triathlon — just a different breed of athlete.
“This rider group is different from your cross-country rider,” Scully said. “These guys have fitness, maybe not to do the 50-miler, but they can certainly spend all day in the saddle. They bring some things to the table that a lot of endurance athletes don’t have.”
The race will feature pro-open men’s and women’s classes, amateur men’s and women’s classes ages 19 to 29, amateur men’s and women’s classes ages 30 to 39, masters men’s and women’s classes ages 40-plus and junior men’s and women’s classes 18 and younger.
Races begin at 9 a.m. both days, with an approximate noon awards ceremony Sunday. Pro-open men’s and women’s classes are eligible for cash prizes: $450 for first, $300 for second, $200 for third, $150 for fourth, and $100 for fifth.
Registration closed for both days Friday. The Steamboat Enduro-X series concludes with the Summit-X benefit race Aug. 24.
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll