Power of Four returns Saturday, Sunday with mountain bike race, trail run | AspenTimes.com

Power of Four returns Saturday, Sunday with mountain bike race, trail run

Power of Four athletes are competing for these medals, created by Lisa Issenberg, whose business name is Kiitella. Issenberg also created the medals for the World Cup Finals and Aspen's Winternational races.

The popular Audi Power of Four Race Series returns Saturday and Sunday with its annual mountain bike race and trail run.

The 33-mile mountain bike race takes place Saturday, covering all four Aspen Snowmass mountains with close to 10,000 feet of elevation gain and descent. There is an 18-mile, two-mountain course option as well.

The start for both races will be at 8 a.m. in Snowmass Village. The short-course race finishes at the base of Tiehack at Buttermilk, while the full 33-mile race ends at gondola plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain.

With last year's race having been canceled due to a storm the night before, it's been two years since the race was held. In 2015, Aspen's John Gaston won the mountain bike race with a time of 3 hours, 44 minutes, 50.5 seconds. Golden's Evelyn Dong was the top woman that year, finishing in 4:26:17.4.

Also Saturday is the Vertical K portion of the trail run. Beginning at 10 a.m. at gondola plaza, runners will compete to be the first up Ajax, a climb of more than 3,200 vertical feet over roughly three miles. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Ajax Tavern in gondola plaza.

Colorado Springs resident Joseph Gray won the 2016 Vertical K race in 37 minutes, 4.4 seconds, while Eagle's Kim Dobson was the top female finisher in 42:26.

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Sunday, the main trail race event — a 50-kilometer jaunt over the four mountains — begins at 6 a.m. at gondola plaza in Aspen. There also is a 25K race, beginning at 9:30 a.m. from Tiehack, and an 11:30 a.m. 10K race, starting from Elk Camp in Snowmass.

The finish for all three races is in Snowmass, with the awards ceremony scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Fanny Hill.

While last year's storm canceled the mountain bike race, it didn't impact the trail run. North Carolina's Morgan Elliott took the 2016 50K race title with a time of 5:17:56. Megan Kimmel, a former Aspen resident, won last year's women's 50K in 5:31:25.4. She was third overall.

Both the 50K and Vertical K trail races are part of the Altra U.S. Skyrunner Series.

This weekend's mountain bike race and trail run are part of the Power of Four Triple Crown, which includes the winter's ski mountaineering race.

For complete details on the races, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com.

acolbert@aspentimes.com