Downhill race works as IMBA World Summit closer
August 24, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Downhill mountain bikers were back at Steamboat Ski Area on Sunday morning for the final Enduro-X race of the summer season, this time not with cash payouts going to racers but rather with proceeds benefiting two of Steamboat's most prominent cycling groups.
With the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit in Steamboat for the first time — and Colorado for the very first time — Sunday's race proved to be a good way to show off some of the city's premier downhill trails to the dozens of out-of-towners here for the summit.
In the process, Enduro-X was able to pull together $500 for Routt County Riders and the Bike Town USA Initiative.
"IMBA contacted me and asked me to put on an event during the summit," Steamboat Enduro-X race director David Scully said. "There's a broad cross-section of rider interests here (for the summit). It's not just downhillers or cross-country riders. There's a mix of everybody."
The season's first two Enduro-X weekends in July and last weekend covered a wide range of Mount Werner terrain, but for the summit closing ceremony and benefit ride, Scully said he hand-picked a few of Steamboat's favorites.
From Thunderhead, riders took the Elkhead Loop Road to Chisholm to reach the top of Storm Peak for the Storm Peak Challenge. From there, the downhillers hit Pete's Wicked Trail to Cathy's Cut Off and onto Sunshine. From Sunshine, they transitioned back onto Chisholm and Elkhead Loop Road, taking Moonlight to Valley View and Rustler's Ridge for a Buckin' Bronc finish.
"It's exciting to showcase the trails to people who love trails," Scully said, honoring the many IMBA trail builders who did the Summit-X race. "I think all these folks here come with a lot of pride in what they do and who they represent. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase what I think are our really enjoyable rides."
The heavy rainstorm that rolled through Saturday forced many of the IMBA visitors off the trails mid-weekend, though about 80 riders spent the day at Mad Creek Trail and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs to make up for the rainout.
The soggy conditions continued slightly into Sunday, but Scully said that save for a few slippery conditions toward the base, the summit closer was a hit.
"Everything went really well," he said. "We had a couple course concerns with rider safety because of the Saturday moisture. We had to kind of mend the course down here at the bottom because we have so much clay content in the soil, making it very slick."
Rishi Grewal, younger brother of famous road cyclist Alexi Grewal, won the men's 40-plus category Sunday in 26 minutes, 31 seconds — the day's top time — ahead of Kevin Simons in second (29:15) and Ralph Eberspacher in third (31:25).
"We had people who got on the podium today with icons of the sport," Scully said, speaking about Grewal's top ride.
Max Cooper owned the men's 30 to 39 category with a total time of 28:02. Bryce Bingham was second in the same age group in 28:39, and Chris Magnotta was third in 29:51.
Mike Rundle was the 19 to 29 age winner in 29:09. Nick Resignolo claimed second in 30:21, and Collin Jacobsen was third in 31:39.
In the men's pro-open category, Steamboat's Nate Bowman was the top finisher in 26:51. Jordan Carr narrowly took second in 26:52, and Dan Gilchrist was third in 28:47.
Leilani Bruntz paced all women Sunday in 30:05. Lilias Ide was second (30:53) and Leslie Kehmeier was third (34:46).