Aspen’s Max Taam reigns over Power of 4
The Aspen Times
Max Taam is the undisputed king of the Power of 4.
Taam, an Aspen Mountain ski patroller, completed the Power of 4 summer double Sunday. He trotted across the finish line at the base of Snowmass, taking third place in the Power of 4 50K trail race.
One day earlier, Taam finished sixth in the Power of 4 Mountain Bike Race, which covered a similar course in the reverse direction.
“I feel pretty good, actually,” Taam said Sunday after covering more than 60 miles across four ski areas in two days.
“Last year, I did the backcountry marathon a day after the bike race. And I ran pretty well. I was second there,” Taam said. “Marshall (J. Marshall Thompson, of Crested Butte) won there, as well.”
Taam said this year he hasn’t done as much running as in years past.
“I hadn’t run anything over 18 miles,” Taam said. “So, I was a little concerned about how I would feel after mile 20 and mile 25.”
But, he said, he felt strong, and he managed his food and liquid intake to be able to finish strong.
“My stomach handled it just fine,” Taam said of his in-race consumption of calories.
“I had a couple waffles, a couple packs of chews,” said Taam, who also used a new soft hand-held water bottle with a restraining strap.
Taam is a veteran of endurance events — summer and winter.
Late last winter, Taam and his teammate, John Gaston, of Aspen, won the Power of 4 Ski Mountaineering Race — for the second time.
“The course couldn’t be in better shape,” Taam said after covering the trails twice in two days. “It makes a bigger difference on the mountain bike. It’s not dusty.”
He said his knowledge of the course, particularly the Aspen Mountain sections, helped his performance in both races.
All three races, actually.
If Taam is the king of the Power of 4, he said his girlfriend Jessi Young has to be the queen of the event.
“She’s the only one to compete in all of the Power of 4 races,” Taam said. “I missed one of the ski races, but she’s done all the ski, all the mountain bike races and (Sunday’s) trail run.”
Three others were scheduled to attempt the summer double on Sunday.
Taam will return to double duty next weekend when he will compete in Steamboat Springs.
He’s scheduled to race in the Steamboat Stinger, a 50-mile mountain bike race one day and a trail marathon the next.
“I hope this combined bike-run event continues to grow,” Taam said of the back-to-back trail events sponsored by the Aspen Skiing Co.
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Vail and Beaver Creek resorts Senior Communications Manager John Plack said the company agrees with the state’s assessment that the ski industry must be out-front in its approach to ensure a safe and successful season in Colorado.