Glide the Divide, Cody’s Challenge events set for Saturday
March 10, 2012
Steamboat Springs — At times, Steamboat Springs seems like a city full of residents intent on self-torture. How else can you explain September's 100-mile trail running race?
On Saturday, though, those residents in Steamboat and surrounding Routt County will have a horrible decision to make: They'll have to choose which of two grueling events to take part in.
Glide the Divide, formerly the North Routt Coureur des Bois, and Cody's Challenge Randonee race at Steamboat Ski Area kick off bright and early Saturday. Whichever event is chosen, plenty of that sweet, sweet pain is sure to await.
Glide: North Routt favorite
The North Routt Coureur des Bois has been renamed Glide the Divide this year because "after seven years, we still didn't know how to spell it," chief of course Dave Mark said. "So we thought it might be time for a change."
That's not the only thing expected to be different about this year's race, either. A 15-kilometer cross-country skiing event has been added to the mammoth 45- and 90-kilometer races that for seven years have made the race one of the most grueling in the country.
"We would like to encourage more participation," Mark said. "I thought it would give the people who come up just to watch and the families who are cheering on racers in the 90 and 45 something to do."
The 90-kilometer race always has been the event's signature competition. It sends skiers far to the north, briefly across the Wyoming border, back along the Continental Divide and eventually back to the starting area at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.
That race will start at 8 a.m.
The 45 km race, which follows much of the same trail with a cutoff loop about halfway to Wyoming, begins at 8:30 a.m. The 15 km course, meanwhile, will circle Steamboat Lake and will begin at 10 a.m.
All three races — the entire weekend, in fact — remain at the core of what organizers see as the heart of the event.
First, they bring together the North Routt community. The weekend is filled with live music: Friday night at Hahn's Peak Cafe, Saturday afternoon and early evening at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse as skiers are finishing and long into Saturday night back at Hahn's Peak Cafe.
"It takes about 60 volunteers to put this on," Mark said. "The whole community helps. There aren't that many people up here, and most of them are pitching in."
Second, the races will showcase the North Routt trail system. There are 20 kilometers around Steamboat Lake and 150 miles worth of groomed terrain in the surrounding forests.
"It's a great trail system, and people need to know about it," Mark said. "The Zirkel Wilderness Area, it's awesome. It's just so big. This event is really a chance to highlight all of that. It can be pretty spectacular."
Registration for the event remains open. The 15 km race is $40, and the longer races are $90 each. Visit http://www.glidethedivide.com for more information.
Challenge a tough 1
At first, Cody's Challenge Randonee race was a way for the friends of Cody St. John to get together and remember him and to do it while competing in the kind of event he would have loved.
The Steamboat Ski Area patroller died in 2007 from injuries sustained in a car wreck while he was driving to the University of Wyoming, where he planned to pursue a nursing degree.
"The event is an incredible sort of way to show how much everyone loved and cared for Cody and how much they still do," Cody's sister, Corinne St. John, said.
Now, four years after the first event, many of the racers never knew Cody, but what he loved again will be the theme this year.
The race is a tough one, combining skiing or snowboarding, skinning and even climbing. The course runs from the top of the gondola to the top of Mount Werner — a 1,488-foot climb — down Chute 3, back up Christmas Tree Bowl, down again and back up along a narrow ribbon of snow between rocky cliffs.
A shorter version also is available, ratcheting things down but certainly not making them easy.
"We have two courses, and we encourage everyone to come out," St. John said. "The longer course is for the avid mountaineers, but the shorter one is for everyone, regardless of age or athletic prowess."
The race also is a way for patrollers to get together and have a good time. That won't change this year.
In an effort to encourage even more participation by patrollers, this year's event will feature "Cody's Cup," which will go to the team of patrollers who finishes with the best combined time. The winning pair will split $2,000 that can be used for medical education or training.
"We thought that was a healthy way to promote a little competition between the patrollers," St. John said.
The race begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the top of the gondola. Registration remains open at http://www.whatwouldcodydo.net and will be available at Bear River Bar & Grill until 7:45 a.m. Saturday. The cost is $60, or $100 for the race and a lift ticket.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com