Competitors suffer at second annual A-Basin Reverse Enduro mountain bike race
There are plenty of challenging mountain bike races across the state of Colorado. Many are known for challenging both the competitors’ physical and mental limits across 50 or 100 miles of biking.
However, maybe one of the most underground and challenging races in the state of Colorado is the Arapahoe Basin Reverse Enduro mountain bike race. Although the race only spans about 3 miles, the course is known to be extremely challenging.
Competitors are timed only by their ascent up the mountain on a mix of singletrack and an extra-steep dirt road. Participants start at an elevation of 10,780 feet at the base of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and steadily climb to the summit of the mountain at 12,456 feet.
On Saturday, July 30 the second annual A-Basin Reverse Enduro mountain bike race kicked off the ski area’s Bikes, Brats and Brews festival with competitors being sent off in waves from Mountain Goat Plaza.
From the very start of the race, it was evident that the course was not for the faint of heart. Over 30 eager participants gained elevation at a rapid rate, using all of their forward momentum to power themselves further up the mountain.
After passing the top of the Black Mountain Express, the course got dramatically harder. With a little over a mile to go participants hopped on Upper Summer Road breathing hard and looking for more oxygen to power their legs.
Now well over 11,000 feet of elevation and climbing up the steepest part of the race — oxygen was hard to come by. Competitors did everything in their power to get their bike up the hills but the majority of the field was forced to hop off and run or walk their bike up the steeper climbs.
“You have to earn your turns kind of like the same thing with skiing,” Erik Sims from Lakewood said. “Definitely got off my bike a couple times on the top sections but overall a good grind towards the end.”
Everyone in the race willingly signed up for the intense endeavor but during what seemed like an endless climb many cursed their decision.
Eventually, competitors crested the top of the mountain to finish the race and were able to easily coast back down to Mountain Goat Plaza.
Once back at the bottom, beers and brats were there to meet the competitors after being pushed to the brink of exhaustion for the last 40 to 60 minutes.
“It was cool,” Ryan Bennick of Frisco said of his first mountain bike race. “It was definitely hard. The switchbacks are hard but once you hit that road it’s brutal. It’s as advertised — it’s supposed to be hard.”
The race was split into six divisions based on gender and age. In the women’s 12-to-15-year-old division, Summit High School’s Aila Harmala raced unopposed but threw down a time of 50 minutes, 29 seconds.
Kelli Fox of Arvada won the women’s 16-to-40-year-old age division, clocking a time of 1:00:58. Fox was followed by Breckenridge’s Paige Sims who finished in 1:13:47.
In the women’s 40-plus division, Beth Connelly of Denver was the first across the finish line posting the best time by a female competitor with a time of 42:07.
Teo Ryder won the men’s 12-to-15-year-old age division racing against much older competition and finishing with a time of 42:29.
In the men’s 16-to-40-year-old division it was Golden’s Billy Edwards to cross the finish line first after expertly navigating the challenging course. Edwards finished with the top overall time, finishing in 34:29.
Bart Davidson of Dillon followed Edwards in second place with a time of 37:08. Silverthorne’s Jared Napoleon placed third in the division with a time of 41:50.
Sims placed 11th in the age division with a time of 57:36, while Bennick finished in 13th with a time of 59:20.
“Everybody had a great attitude — there was a lot of good support,” Bennick said. “It was fun, I have a few beers to drink now.”
Rounding out the competition was the men’s 40-plus division which was won by Kevin Minard of Dillon. Minard finished in a time of 38:34 for the third best time of the day.
Charles Pratt of Dillon placed second in the division with a time of 40:29 and Colorado Springs’ Scott Suter placed third in a time of 41:18.
For full race results visit ItsYourRace.com.