Inside the Steamboat Stinger Marathon Mountain Bike + Running Race

by Rob Peterson, Routt County Riders Board Member Extraordinaire 8/6/19

Honey Stinger is about to kick off the 9th Annual Steamboat Stinger Marathon Mountain Bike and Running Races, which, per usual, will be another hot and beautiful weekend here in the ‘Boat. Playing a role in something special in your hometown is important for many people. For me, coming from a mountain bike racing background, there’s nothing like being able to compete in my own backyard (and/or support when not racing).

For those who don’t know what it takes to put on a race of any style or sport, you should try volunteering and see it firsthand! The experience is something you will never forget, it’s truly an amazing thing to give back and be there for people. To know that you’re there to lend a hand to someone (they might be getting their butt kicked on course!) with some water, a Honey Stinger waffle, or maybe even just a “hey you got this”! That, to me, is what our town is all about — sharing those outdoor experiences with each other, and sometimes just being there for one another. The look on someone’s face might not say “I love you” at the moment, and their “thank you” while sweating, breathing heavily and trying to get a quick second of rest might not seem enthusiastic, but trust me — they appreciate it more than you know.

The fun for some of us begins WAY before the big showtime lights turn on (it’s a daytime event, just seemed cooler telling it this way). Staff, volunteers, and those who might have been conned into helping out start working on the race many months ahead of time. I’m fortunate enough to help set the course with one of my best friends and then run an aid station both days at the top of Emerald Mountain. It’s a pretty cool feeling to hear feedback from racers on how the course was well-marked and that it rocked from beginning to end. I’ve even heard racers say, “that was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, it kicked the crap out of me, but I had the BEST TIME EVER!”

I think that everyone has different views on what racing means to them. For me, I want to kick butt on-course, but at the same time — it’s all about the experience and comradery. The Steamboat Stinger does just that — it gives you an amazing experience on some super fun trails, put on by wonderful people ready to lend a hand, some energy chews, or just give a big old high five of encouragement!

Come check out the race (or races) to see it firsthand — and then maybe next time you might even race it – or volunteer at an aid station to help #sweetentheburn. See you this weekend!

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