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8th Annual Steamboat Stinger Challenges and Delights

More than 900 athletes took to the trails of Steamboat Springs this past weekend to compete in the 8th annual Steamboat Stinger event. Created and independently run by Honey Stinger, the event has become an iconic Colorado race for mountain bikers and trail runners alike, providing a challenging backcountry experience showcasing some of Routt County’s finest singletrack. The Steamboat Stinger is also a fundraiser for Partners in Routt County, a local youth mentoring group, and Routt County Riders, the local IMBA chapter.

“The Stinger has become an incredibly beloved event here in Steamboat, drawing top athletes from across the state and well beyond,” said Jordan Edwards, marketing specialist at Honey Stinger. “Our entire company pitches in to make it happen and we love showing off our backyard trails to so many people .”

This year’s edition of the event saw sold out fields across multiple disciplines, with more than 550 riders competing on Saturday, and nearly 350 runners out Sunday to enjoy the 100 percent dirt, 90 percent singletrack courses beginning and ending at the Howelsen Hill Ski Area. Near-record temperatures added even more challenge to the already difficult terrain, but racers were rewarded with incredible views of the area’s surrounding peaks and valleys, aspen forests, open meadows and wild sage gardens – plus amazing enthusiasm from Honey Stinger’s teams of aid station volunteers.

Photo: Noah Wetzel

Saturday – Mountain Bike Races

The event offered numerous options for racers, including both a solo 52-mile mountain bike race on Saturday, as well as a duo category enabling riders to pair up to complete the race, each tackling one loop of the 26-mile course.

In the solo pro/open women’s division, Karen Jarchow of Eagle, Colo., took top honors, completing the course in 4:54:21, ahead of Hive athlete and Honey Stinger MTB Team Rider, Elizabeth Carrington, of Durango, Colo., in second and Celeste Cannon of Fort Collins, Colo. in third.

On the men’s side, Steamboat local and Hive athlete, Tanner Visnick, bested the field with a time of 4:07:53, ahead of Carbondale, Colo., local, David Krimstock in second and Thomas Herman of Lakewood, Colo. in third.

The Citizen’s divisions were won by Brittany Spengler of Glenwood Springs, Colo., on the women’s side (5:23:50), and James Hall of Denver for the men, who edged out second-place finisher Ian Metcalf by just 10.6 seconds to take the top step in 5:06:25.

In the Singlespeed category, Hive athlete Samantha Welter (Fort Collins) and Bradley Berger (Westminster, Colo.) took top honors with times of 6:16:32 and 4:35:0, respectively. Mike Morris of Steamboat won the solo Clydesdale category in 5:48:50.

In the duo races, the women’s team of Boniface/Reeves beat out 28 other all-female teams to win the race handily in a time of 4:49:32, nearly 30 minutes ahead of second place team Northcutt/Schrock. Team Castle/Shelden rounded out the podium in third. The duo men’s category featured much tighter racing, with team Ross/Vacura earning the top spot in 4:18:31, followed by team Leonard/Strokes just 43 seconds later, and the team of Carter-Gibb/Partridge taking 3rd place of 79 teams, another 40 seconds back.

The duo co-ed category was also heavily contested, with 60 teams competing for the podium. Team Pond/Mulliken, both Hive athletes, took the win in 4:27:19, ahead of Anderson/LaPoint in second and Sheets/Morris in third.

Steamboat local and Hive athlete Tanner Visnick on the top step. Photo: Noah Wetzel

Sunday – Running Races

Sunday brought the runners to the trails, with both a half and a full trail marathon race taking place. In addition, some athletes took on the King Sting and Queen Bee – combining times from both the solo mountain bike race and the full marathon – and the Bumble Bee – combining racers’ lap times from the duo mountain bike race with their half marathon times – to be crowned as overall winners of the weekend.

In the women’s marathon, Letitia Dusich of Colorado Springs took the win, completing the course in 3:53:23. Hive athlete Taylor Matecki of Pueblo West, Colo., finished second, while Steamboat Springs local Britt Dick rounded out the podium.

Joshua Merrick of Fraser, Colo., was the men’s marathon champion, crossing the line in 3:27:20. He was followed by Hive athlete Gabriel Small of Steamboat Springs in second and David Hoff of Golden, Colo., in third.

Of the 133 women who took on the half marathon, Chelsea Bolton of Boulder came out on top in a time of 1:41:00, with Steamboat’s Pearson Alspach and Glenwood Springs’ Melissa Goodman taking second and third place, respectively.

Daniel Goding of Loveland, Colo., won the men’s race in 1:34:30, followed by Boulder’s James Johnson in second and Eric Lustgarten, also of Boulder, in third.

Half Marathon winner Chelsea Bolton racing down Little Moab. Photo: Noah Wetzel

King Sting/Queen Bee and Bumble Bee

Three women conquered the “Queen Bee” category, completing both the full 52-mile bike race on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. Hive athlete Taylor Matecki took the crown with a combined time of 11:43:13, followed by Monica Ramstad of Denver (11:49:41) and Audrey Oberlin of Fort Collins (13:42:06).

In the men’s “King Sting” challenge, marathon winner Joshua Merrick bested 21 competitors to earn top honors, with a total time of 8:23:05 across the two days of racing. He was joined on the podium by Hive athlete Nelson Hegg of Boulder (8:35:37) and Jason Kiefer of Avon, Colo. (8:43:26).

In the Women’s Bumble Bee category, Deanna McCurdy of Littleton, Colo., took the win in 4:15:19, just 21 seconds ahead of Kara LaPoint of Basalt, Colo., followed by Jennifer Razee of Edwards, Colo., in a time of 4:37:16.

For the men, Avon’s Michael Door came out on top with a combined time of 3:56:57, about four minutes ahead of Patryk Matecki from Colorado Springs. James Johnson, of Boulder, rounded out the podium in 4:09:50.

Full event results can be found here.

Photo: Noah Wetzel