Race report and photos by Shawn Lortie
(June 18, 2011) Bailey Colo.-With a blast of the double barreled shotgun, the second annual Bailey Hundo rolled out of town at 6AM, sending 250 racers out for a hundred miles of pain and suffering mixed with a healthy dose of killer Colorado singletrack. With about 60 miles of trail and over 12,000ft. of climbing, even the fastest riders faced a long day in the saddle.
This non-profit event was created out of a partnership between four State Senators; State Senator Chris Romer, State Senator Greg Brophy, State Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, and State Senator Mark Scheffel , and the communities of Bailey, Park County, and Colorado cyclists. The main recipients of the funds raised by the event are Trips for Kids, Colorado High School Cycling, and Kids on Bikes. The Hundo also supports the advocacy and trail building work of the Colorado Mountain Biking Association, who has done a truly amazing job at developing one of the sweetest trail systems in the state.
The race leaves Bailey and heads out for 6 miles of dirt road that includes a few steep kickers that tend to cause some selections to be made fairly quickly. From there it’s on to the Colorado Trail where the fun really begins. Classic singletrack through the pines, with lots of loose corners and twisting, rollercoaster-like riding brings the course to the Buffalo Creek trail network for more of the same. Granite rock drops, more flowy single-track, and burn zones keep things interesting as the course works its way back to the Colorado Trail where it eventually hits the highway and the real suffering begins.
After nearly 60 miles of singltrack, riders are faced with the brutal climb up Stoney Pass and back to Bailey. The climb is relentless and exposed for most of the way. The race winner, Colin Cares (Kenda), who had never ridden in the area, had this to say about the infamous climb, “In some ways I think it was an advantage not to know what was coming in the final 40 miles because I didn’t want to get intimidated and not ride hard.”
This tactic seemed to work well for Cares, as he and Bryan Alders (Epic Endurance Cycling) took the lead within the first hour of the race and stayed together until just before the big climb. Within a few miles up the dry wash boarded climb, Cares had a few minute gap on Alders and continued to grow that lead to nearly 20 minutes by the end of the race.
Last year Alders battled with Dave Weins for second place under much the same circumstances. Weins and Alders reached the bottom of the Stoney Pass climb together, but by the end Weins had put 8 minutes on Alders. Only Alders knows if that painful memory held him back on the climb this year. Regardless, he dug deep to try and bring Cares back, but it was not to be and cares took the win in 6:42:47.
Sonya Looney returned to defend her title from last years race. “I chose to run skinnier tires than I'm accustomed to due to the 40 miles of dirt road, but regretted it on the very loose kitty litter trails. After 2 nasty crashes, I found myself shoving ice in my sock at any aide station that had it available, gritting my teeth, and slogging through the pain and fatigue.”
A testament to Looney’s strength, she still won the women’s race and finished in the top 40 overall! Finishing in second behind Looney was Tammy Saddle (Izzy/Rocky Mounts) with Coreen Wright (Tough Girls) coming in third. The women’s field was quite a bit larger than last year and it was great to see lots of the ladies putting the hurt on plenty of the guys!
These are just a couple of the stories that came out of the race this year, but there are countless more epic tales to be told amongst those that raced the Hundo this year. Two hundred and fifty racers set out to tackle the course this year, some finished, some didn’t, but I’m betting that even the ones who didn’t finish will be back next year to try it again, as the Bailey Hundo is a truly special race with a truly special cause.
For full race results see: Bailey Hundo