Of the hundreds of riders in the annual HUNDO and HUNDitO single track bike races Saturday, June 15, in Bailey, all but two celebrated simply competing in, and completing, the grueling competition. As well they should.
The HUNDO consists of a 100-mile trek over fast, treacherous terrain and features a cardio-busting climb of more than 8,000 feet in elevation. The HUNDitO consists of 50 miles, demanding an elevation increase of more than 5,000 from the well-conditioned riders.
For those reasons alone, anyone completing these physically exhausting competitions should have a soothing sense of self-satisfaction for having done so.
But what about the two exceptions, who went back home with something slightly different than a sense of inner peace for simply having finished the race?
The two exceptions in this year’s competition were Ben Parman of Fort. Collins, and Tom Herman of Lakewood. They not only enjoyed the thrill of competing. They enjoyed the thrill of winning.
Parman took top honors in the HUNDO, cruising in comfortably ahead of everyone else with a time of 7:02:53.25. Harman, who also won by a wide margin over the rest of the field, completed the task in 3:36:22.37.
Both men were proud to have left accomplished fields of riders behind them in high-profile races, but both were also refreshingly humble in victory.
“I’m finally getting the training thing down for these races, I think,” Parman said. “It was just a fun day. I got to ride with two friends for a good portion of the race, so that was great. I just enjoy the social aspect of these races more than anything else. I never come to a race when I don’t make a new friend or two.”
Parman’s training must be dialed in pretty well, because on this day he was never really challenged.
“My friends and I broke away from the pack pretty early, and I never saw anyone again outside of that group,” Parman said. “I hung with them for quite a while but I still had some energy to burn so thought I might as well burn it. I was probably by myself for at least the last two or two-and-a-half hours of the race, just alone in front.”
Parman characterized the course as having a fast, flowing feel with loose, soft traction in places.
“It was a beautiful course,” Parman said. “I had to be careful, though, because traction was a challenge at times, and I bested last year’s winning time by a considerable margin.”
The 36-year-old Parman has been collecting friends, and trophies lately, also taking top honors in the Gunnison Growler, the Gowdy Grinder and the Laramie Mountain Bike Series. Parman is a web developer and remodels houses when he’s not racing.
Herman, who rides in the Bailey area often from his home in nearby Lakewood, also crossed the finish line with no competition in sight.
“This is my second year to compete in this race, and last year I finished third,” Harmon said. “I rode with three other guys for the first half of the race, and then pulled away on a climb called Nice Kitty. After a while I couldn’t see any of them behind me, so I quit looking over my shoulder.”
Herman, 33, has been riding mountain bikes since the age of 12. He is employed by, and races for, BOA, a company that specializes in footwear for mountain bikers and snowboarders.
Herman has also won the Battle of the Bear Bike Race in Lakewood, and the Ridgeline Rampage in Castle Rock this year.
“I did finally get help from a coach this season, but bike racing is still just a hobby for me,” Herman said. “There are some really good riders who have won a lot of races here today, so it is an honor to finish first.”