Durango runner rolls to easy win in women’s Power of Four; Basalt’s Fones wins Triple Crown
Maybe Kathryn Ross needs to up her expectations.
The 27-year-old from Durango scorched the women’s field Sunday during the Audi Power of Four 50k Ultra, despite being a first-time competitor in the race and having no real belief she would be on the podium at the end.
“It was an unexpected win,” Ross said. “From the start it was certainly hard. It was climbing straight out of Aspen and then a pretty cool descent and then more climbing.”
Ross completed the course in 6 hours, 11 minutes, 9.4 seconds to finish seventh overall, about an hour behind overall race winner Morgan Elliott. Boulder’s Ginna Ellis, 30, was the second woman to cross the 50k finish line in 7:00:01.4. Colorado Springs’ Amanda Pevoteaux, 36, came in third, only four minutes behind Ellis.
The 50k course was a brutal series of ups and downs. It started early Sunday morning at the base of Aspen Mountain, took runners over Ajax, over Aspen Highlands, and over Buttermilk before finishing with a milder stretch to the conclusion of the race in Snowmass Village.
“It’s funny because the miles do not go by very fast in the beginning,” Ross said. “Then you hit some of those downhills and you start to get through the miles a little bit more. It’s a great win for me. I’m definitely happy about it.”
Ross has some lofty goals still to go this summer. She is contemplating racing the Pikes Peak Ascent, and currently is signed up for the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in Steamboat Springs. She also said a return to the Power of Four is more than likely.
In the women’s 25k race Sunday, which only included the Buttermilk and Snowmass portion of the course, Englewood’s Clare Gallagher took the top spot in 2:15:10.2. She finished seventh overall. In second among women was Edgewater’s Taylor Nowlin (2:15:18.4) and third Telluride’s Kelly Wolf (2:18:03.2).
Sunday’s 10k race was won by Minnesota’s Jackie Lindfors in 55:34.4. She finished third overall and only nine minutes behind race winner Chris Kroger of Nevada. Second among women was Boulder’s Lauren Sims (1:10:41) and third Denver’s Beth Van Vurst (1:10:48.1).
Alone at the top
Basalt’s Maddy Fones was in a class of her own Sunday.
As it turned out, she was the only woman to compete in all three Power of Four Race Series events in 2017 — Sunday’s foot race, Saturday’s mountain bike race and February’s ski mountaineering race — making her this year’s Triple Crown winner.
She had the podium completely to herself on Sunday in Snowmass Village.
“It was fun. Next year I’d like to have other females up there with me,” Fones said. “In the future all the fast people are going to come and they are just going to slaughter me, but since this is the first time, I got a free pass.”
February’s Power of Four skimo race was the first of its kind for the 25-year-old Fones. Her mountain biking career spans all of six weeks. She is an adept runner, however, although the longer distances are a bit new to her repertoire. Fones finished Sunday’s 50k race in 7:36:09.2, which was sixth among women.
Only seven women competed in the full Power of Four mountain bike race on Saturday. Fones proudly took seventh.
“So, I got last place of women on the bike. I started biking six weeks ago, so that was a little hilarious,” Fones said. “I really like the run. I don’t know about the mountain bike. I got to practice, because I fell like 15 times and I was saying sorry to every single person on the course. I told every aid station, ‘Just pray that I cross the finish line, because right now things aren’t looking great.’”
Still, Fones was the only woman to attempt all three races this year, giving her the Triple Crown spotlight on Sunday. Whether she goes for the crown again next year depends on her confidence on a mountain bike, which right now is a bit lacking.
“I’m not actually that fast, but I had a really fun time,” Fones said. “It’s not that fun when no one else does it. But it was good. It was my first mountain bike race and my first ski race. I’m happy that it gave me the opportunity to be up there.”
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Spend enough time on the trails and slopes of Snowmass Village and you’ll probably see Brandon Hawksley at some point — or his handiwork, anyway.