FRONT RANGE 60 GALLERY
Kalan Beisel had no match at the Front Range 60 mountain-bike race in Lakewood, Colorado on Saturday, finally exorcising some mechanical demons that have cost him a shot at victory in other races.
“Lady Luck was on my side this weekend,” the 30 year old from Colorado Springs said, shortly after crossing the finish line in 3:33:42 on the fast, rolling 60-miler that stands as the second installment of the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series.
Just a week before, with a win within reach at the Whiskey Off-Road 50-miler in Prescott , Arizona , Beisel – racing for Pro Cycling/SRAM – flatted and finished a disappointing 15th.
He found his vindication on the hardpack trails of Bear Creek Lake State Park, while this time the demons tormented his primary rivals. Both Brady Kappius and Taylor Shelden suffered flats on the fifth of six laps on what Beisel described as a “power” course, where fast-rolling tires would make all the difference.
Shelden, who also struck a spectator and crashed hard in the feed zone at the start of the sixth lap, rallied to finish in 3:39:56, good for second place but still more than six minutes behind Beisel.
Kappius, a Boulder rider who races for Clif Bar, won the first race in the series, the Voodoo Fire in Pueblo, but rode in on his rims in 3:40:15, good only for fifth place, behind Zach Vestal (VeloNews) of Boulder and Travis Macy (Team Merrell Adventure) of Evergreen.
For the women Kelly Boniface (Moots Cycles), of Steamboat Springs, bested Topeak-Ergon’s Sonya Looney of Boulder, while Lisa Hudson (Feedback Sports) of Golden finished third.
The longer, tougher offspring of the now venerable Battle of the Bear, the first-year Front Range 60 offered a marathon-distance race as part of the overarching Denver Fat Tire Festival, which included shorter distances for less-committed racers.
As a result, several hundred riders of varying abilities all competed for space on the same 10-mile track, making passing an energy-burning, sometimes risky proposition. That slowed some climbers on the short, middle chainring climbs, but it also meant that even beginner-level cyclists could feel like they were always in a race and never alone.
Sponsored by Warriors Cycling, the race at the base of the foothills west of Denver, also attracted a sizeable crowd of spectators on a sun-splashed, very warm May day. The event even included a sprint for toddlers still using training wheels, seeding future generations of bike racers.