Gunnison’s Brown, Canada’s Todosichuk grit out King Sting and Queen Bee titles
August 17, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Gunnison's Jon Brown found solace under a sliver of shade cast by the PowerICE tent propped up near the finish line of Sunday's Steamboat Stinger full and half-marathon.
Brown was gassed, and with good reason.
Fifty miles along Emerald Mountain's sloping mountain bike trails Saturday and a full trail marathon Sunday equaled nearly 77 miles of pure endurance for Brown, the Steamboat Stinger's 2014 King Sting — the award given out to the brave bikers and runners who double up during the yearly two-day race.
"I'm exhausted for sure," Brown said in his cool patch of shade, surrounded by PowerICE wrappers, re-hydrating after two races in mid-80-degree heat. "The mountain bike race was a lot harder than I wanted it to be. I needed to save a little bit of it for the run. I was more destroyed than I thought I would be."
Brown pedaled his way to 27th place in Saturday's 50-mile mountin bike portion, crossing in just more than 4 hours, 45 minutes. He had to fight off severe cramps along the way, gritting out a ride with the Sunday marathon lingering in the back of his mind.
"I was cramping so bad, I did all I could do just to ride in," Brown said. "I've always thought of myself as a biker, but I just got crazy cramps."
The thought of Brown's gritty Saturday made his Sunday even more remarkable, crossing the marathon finish line not only faster than the other 11 men and women who took on the King Sting and Queen Bee competitions, but also faster than anyone, period, who ran the 26.2 miles.
Brown followed up last year's solid performance in the Stinger trail marathon (second place) by winning the 2014 running event, finishing in 3:37:16, nearly 10 minutes faster than he did in 2013.
"I'm getting a little older, so doing the longer stuff, I can be a little more competitive," Brown said. "I used to adventure race for 10 years, so this is kind of more my style."
Canadian coasts to Queen Bee in her 1st Stinger
Nicole Todosichuk summed up Sunday's Steamboat Stinger trail marathon in one quick sentence.
"Half the distance but just as tough," the Canadian said, comparing the 26.2 miles Sunday with the 50 she conquered on bike Saturday.
Todosichuk is the Stinger's 2014 Queen Bee, finishing Saturday's 50-mile mountain bike ride and Sunday's full marathon on Emerald Mountain, beating out just one other double-up competitor along the way.
She traveled all the way from Canada for the sole purpose of doubling up at the fourth annual Steamboat Stinger.
"Running and biking are my two favorite sports," Todosichuk said. "I saw this event, and I knew I had to come do it."
Todosichuk's favorite part of her inaugural Stinger? Not the competition, she insists, but rather the camaraderie, especially on Sunday's running trails.
"Definitely my favorite part was just having a chance to chat with people today," she said. "It was so difficult yesterday on the bike."
Boulder's Johnson repeats half, Steamboat's Forbes takes gold
James Johnson kept looking over his shoulder, certain a pair of younger, more endured legs would pass him up in Sunday's Steamboat Stinger half-marathon.
For four straight years now, however, Johnson hasn't had to hold off anyone, winning once again in the men's Stinger trail half-marathon in 1:33:33, about a minute faster than his time last year.
"All I thought was, 'Boy, all it will take is one of those young guys who can just fly down hills,'" Johnson said.
Johnson edged out Steamboat's Harry Niedl, who finished in 1:38:16. Third place went to Boulder's Andrew Auer in 1:38:36.
On the women's side, Steamboat's Shannon Forbes won by nearly three minutes in Sunday's half-marathon, crossing in 1:57:26. Steamboat's Katie Peyser was second in 2:00:49, and Fraser's Jennie Russell was third in 2:02:49.
In the men's full trail marathon, Brown beat out Madison Goodman (3:40:20) and Bryan Cook (3:41:15).
On the women's side, Amber Young, of Albuquerque, was the day's top finisher in 4:15:24. Amanda Taglioli was second in 4:20:54, and Katherine O'Donnell was third in 4:31:49.