Aspen local John Gaston continued his dominance of local races — regardless of the season — by winning the Snowmass 50 mountain bike race on Saturday. The Strafe Outerwear co-founder and U.S. ski mountaineering team member finished the roughly 56-mile course (two 28-mile loops) in 4 hours, 8 minutes, 13 seconds, nearly 16 minutes ahead of Glenwood’s Lucca Trapani, who was second in 4:24:11.
Aspen’s Aaron Pool was third in 4:28:10, with the Carbondale duo of Butch Peterson (4:32:55) and Scott Leonard (4:33:05) taking fourth and fifth, respectively.
Arkansas’ Crystal Anthony took the women’s crown in 4:49:24, followed by Glenwood’s Morgan Hill in second (5:48:41) and Edwards teen Bayli McSpadden (5:53:53) in third.
Due to local health guidelines surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the field was limited to 50 athletes. Unofficially, five women and 33 men completed the race, while eight others recorded DNF’s (did not finish) with one DNS (did not start).
This was the second year the Snowmass 50 was held exclusively in Snowmass Village. Prior to the 2019 race, it had been billed as one of Aspen Skiing Co.’s “Power of Four” races and held across all four of Skico’s ski mountains.
Lakewood’s Thomas Herman won last year’s Snowmass 50 race on a slightly shorter track in 4:52:41.4. Herman also won the Power of Four race in 2018; he did not compete in Saturday’s race.
Gaston last competed in the Power of Four mountain bike race in 2017, which he won. He and longtime partner Max Taam — who has also competed internationally for the U.S. in skimo — have dominated the Power of Four ski mountaineering race during the winter for the better part of the past decade.
Barring any weather issues, the Snowmass 50’s team race is scheduled for Sunday. Beginning with the first wave at 7 a.m., teams of two will take turns attempting the 28-mile loop with the best combined time winning. Due to COVID-19 concerns, there is no official awards ceremony following the race and results will be posted online later in the day.
Next weekend, Aug. 1 and 2, the Audi Power of Four trail run is scheduled to take place. The 50-kilometer race from Aspen to Snowmass will take place Saturday, followed by the 25k race on Sunday.
Outside of the weekly Aspen Cycling Club races, which are all time trials this summer, Skico’s races these two weekends will have been the only significant sporting events held in the Roaring Fork Valley since the start of the pandemic shutdown in March. Most other races, including the Aspen Valley Marathon, Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Golden Leaf Half Marathon, were all canceled. Those cancellations include next month’s Colorado Classic professional women’s cycling race, of which Snowmass had been scheduled to host the first stage.