June 21, 2010

Bailey HUNDO a Success

Bailey Hundo a success
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski of Boulder finishes fastest with time of 6:36
Mike Potter
Staff Writer

It was a rocky day for the riders and organizers of the Bailey Hundo, a grueling 100-mile bike race on Saturday, June 19.

It was rocky for the 154 racers as they made their ways through a network of roads and trails south of Bailey. There were a few daunting climbs throughout the course, including a rough stretch of road up to Stoney Pass, and one again on County Road 68 just before the finish line. Of the 154 racers at the start, 15 did not finish.

And it was rocky for the organizers because there were unexpected challenges that sprung up during the 12-hour event, including missing riders, closed gates, damaged course indicators, and the need to shuffle around aid station workers mid-race.

But by the end of the day, all the bumps had been smoothed over, and all that was left to do was celebrate at the Romer Ranch.

Money was raised in part to help build trails and parking areas in the Bailey area that could help attract mountain bikers. A portion of the proceeds will also be given to Trips for Kids Denver/Boulder, a nonprofit group that provides mountain biking trups for at-risk youth, and the Colorado High School Cycling League, a nonprofit that promotes mountain biking at high schools.

Winners

In the Men's Elite category, the top three finishers were: Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (6:37), Dave Wiens (6:49), and Brian Alders (6:56).

In the Women's Elite category, the winners were Sonya Looney (8:19), Brenda Moczygemba (9:21), and Melissa Trainer (9:24).

Cameron Chambers, from Kansas City, Mo., finished first in the singlespeed category, with a time of 7 hours and 44 minutes.

Race volunteer John Gerritsen, who helped lay out the course, said the feedback from the bikers about the course was positive, and the finish times showed him that the course was right on the mark as far as its challenge.

"We're not too extreme and we're not too easy," he said.

After the race, Gerritsen said he heard nothing but positive reviews about the course.

Horgan-Kobelski had one such review.

"I was loving it," he said at the finish line. "The course was amazing."

Horgan-Kobelski, who is also known as JHK, said the first 60 miles were "incredible," and five hours in, he felt great.
"Pure fun," he said.

But the last hour and a half, he had to push himself to make it to the finish line.

"I really suffered the last hour and a half," he said.

The course

The course consisted of roads and trails southeast of Bailey. Its layout was meticulously planned to offer a variety of features that would challenge all the participants, said Gerritsen,

"We looked for varied terrain not to favor any one type of specialist," he said.

There were 10 aid stations spread out over the course that offered the riders food and water. Toward the end of the race, and during the difficult climbs, aid stations were positioned closer together to give the riders more of an opportunity to rest.

Any riders who didn't pass aid station six by 1:30 p.m. were stopped. Aid station six, at the 59-mile marker, was a little over the half-way mark.

Gerritsen said it was planned that the cutoff would be there so riders that made it that far, but weren't allowed to continue, could say they made it more than halfway to the finish line.

"This is their Everest," he said.

The race, which began in downtown Bailey, looped around to end on property just southeast of downtown Bailey on County Road 68. It had a particularly challenging 3,000-foot climb through an area decimated by the Hayman fire in 2002. The temperature in that area at one point in the afternoon was 84 degrees.

Steamboat Springs biker Nate Bird, who finished seventh overall, said the climb was one of the most difficult parts of the course.
It was rocky and narrow in areas, with no shelter from the sun or the wind.

He was by himself for 75 miles of the race and had to fight to keep his focus in some areas.

"You always try to stay positive, especially if you start feeling that lull," he said shortly after crossing the finish line. "I always say 'I am fast, I am strong' over and over."

He also uses music as a motivator, although he only listens to one headphone so he can still hear what's going on around him.
The Bailey Hundo was the first 100-mile race for both Horgan-Kobelski and Bird. They both said the longest race they'd done was 70 miles.

Senators' race

Democratic Colorado Senator Chris Romer and Republican senators Mark Scheffel, Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp spearheaded the race.

Romer, who participated in the race and stopped long enough at aid station two to answer some questions, said he thought the race could become a great way to showcase the mountain biking trails around Bailey.

"This is not only some of the best mountain biking in Colorado, but some of the best mountain biking in the world," he said.
Romer and Kopp rode into aid station four together around 10 a.m. Romer continued on and Kopp bowed out of the race.

Some very big names in mountain biking raced in the Bailey Hundo. Among them were Dave Wiens, the six-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race; Horgan-Kobelski, who took first place in the Men's Pro Cross Country title at the U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships at the Sol Vista Bike Park on July 18, 2009, in Granby, Colo.; and Durango resident Travis Brown, who represented the United States in mountain biking at the 2000 Olympics.

"Probably five of the top 10 mountain bikers in the world are in this race," Romer said.

An up-and-coming rider that could arguably be included in those ranks was 15-year-old Moises Selman, from the Dominican Republic.

Romer selected him to carry his torch after he left the race.

Selman told The Flume that he is considered one of the top 10 junior mountain bikers in the Dominican Republic.

He was set to take over for Romer after noon, but Selman couldn't wait to get on the trail, so Romer decided to bring him along on his way out of aid station two.

"Moises is going to be my secret weapon," Romer said. "Brophy doesn't know about it."

Romer also warned one of the top racers that Selman was coming for him.

"He's going to part the sea, and Moises and I are going to lead our people," Romer said. "Dave Weins watch out, because Moises is on the trail."

Not without incident

Although many racers suffered minor cuts and scrapes from the course, there was only one major injury reported during the race.
Denver's Mike Berg suffered a broken foot or ankle during the race before reaching aid station 4.

Berg was riding a stretch of the Colorado Trail when he had a mishap and hurt himself.

Details about the incident weren't clear, but race organizers were able to locate the injured biker.

Someone sat with him while a crew from the North Fork Fire Protection District drove in to find him.

Gerritsen also had to reorganize aid station volunteers when it appeared that aid station 10 was going to be understaffed.

Gerritsen was able to coordinate aid stations with plenty of help to get to aid station 10 to set it up.

He said he's already got his mind on next year's race, which would most likely keep the same course.

He's thought of ways to improve communications between volunteers, how to track riders, and what the volunteers need to know before setting up.

While he had helped organize races before, he has never helped organize one with the scope or the length of the Bailey Hundo.
The race could grow to be huge, which is what he would like to see.

"I think this race is going to become an epic, meaning it's going to become a very, very, very large race, and that's what we want to happen," he said.

"Not only is it just a fun event, but the more people that we get to come to this race, it's going to be financially better for the charities that it serves."