Point 2 Point endurance race draws cyclists of all sorts
Women’s winner gives back to Summit Bike Club
These days, race organizer Jay Burke said, the Point 2 Point mountain bike race is growing in popularity and with it a host of good things have emerged. Athletes of the highest caliber have joined the race’s ranks, pushing finish times lower each year.
But for Burke, the spirit of the race takes many forms.
First and foremost, there’s Larissa Connors. A California racer and this year’s fastest female finisher, Connors took the gold, the passed it along to a good cause.
According to Burke, when she was presented with a check for her first-place finish, she told him to sign the $2,000 over to Summit Bike Club.
Connors, a high school math teacher, said her students inspired her to give the money back after she asked them what they would do if they won a million dollars.
“Most said I would donate it to feed the hungry or donate it to hurricane Harvey victims,” she said.
That, paired with a conversation about how it takes training in Europe to become a top-level mountain bike racer cemented Connors’ decision.
“Summit Bike Club gives a lot of young kids those opportunities,” she said. “I felt like the peices came together to give those kids the opportunity they need to give those kids the chance to take their riding to next level.”
Connors took first in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in August among some of the nation’s top competitors.
Big gestures like Connors’ donation are important, Buke said, but he’s also thrilled by the dedication shown by average racers.
“As an event director I love the people that start showing up about a third of the way through the finishers. Those are the people that have put a lot of dedication into an event like this,” he said. “Most of these folks at that range have been out for 10 hours.”
Burke also described a racer who lost a relative to opioid addiction and who was participating in 200,000 miles of mountain bike races to raise awareness of the national epidemic. He crossed his mile marker on the Point 2 Point race.
These racers, with their individual and sometimes highly personal reasons for joining the race, are what make the race special for a race director who has seen it all.
Next year, Burke said, the race is planned to run similarly. Hopefully with all its quirky, gracious guests.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story referred to Connors by an incorrect name on one reference.
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