It’s all uphill for cyclist Stamm |

It’s all uphill for cyclist Stamm

FRISCO – During a relaxed afternoon on a back porch near the shore of the Dillon Reservoir, Ken Stamm’s body seems ready for action. Even at rest, the veins in his arms and legs bulge with life.

It’s because the part-time Frisco resident asks a lot of his 57-year-old frame. After serious stints in ice hockey, lacrosse, track and tennis, Stamm is now a focused cyclist – a championship one at that.

Last month, Stamm won the California/Nevada State Climbing Championship at the Everest Challenge Stage Race in Bishop, Calif. It’s a brutal cycling event with a name that comes from the fact that competitors climb more than the elevation of the world’s highest mountain over two days. Stamm won the masters division for riders 55 and older.

“It’s like doing hill repeats on Mount Evans,” Stamm said. “It’s that ridiculous. It’s really an interesting challenge. Less than 50 percent finish that start.”

Mount Evans comes up because that race – the July 26 Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hillclimb – is next for Stamm. It takes riders from 7,500 feet to 14,200 on the highest paved road in the America.

Yes, Stamm likes to climb. The more grueling the event, the more confident he feels.

“I’m light,” he said. “It’s strictly strength-to-weight. The more grinding there is, the better. The more climbing, the better chance I have.

“I knew from the get-go I wasn’t a good sprinter. Once I found that (out), the only way to win races was to outclimb and outlast everybody in my group.”

Stamm and his wife, Sue, have developed a seasonal rhythm in their retired life. They spend summers in Summit County and most of the winter in Arizona. The only time they are away from their bikes is during their February and April ski trips.

“It works good because we’ll come up here and snowboard for a month, then we’ll go back and we can ride,” Stamm said. “I don’t get off the bike that long. Even a month of snowboarding, your legs stay in pretty good shape, but your cardio goes right down the toilet.”

The couple won a United States Cycling Federation (USCF) national championship in coed tandem cycling last year in Bakersfield, Calif. Ken Stamm has won 11 state titles in Arizona.

He spends his summer days riding the Copper Mountain-Leadville-Minturn triangle, to and from Vail and round trips over Swan Mountain Road and Loveland Pass. He does one such big ride and several other smaller rides each week.

He’ll cap his season at this year’s USCF national championships in Louisville, Ky., in August and at the Arizona state championships in September.

Stamm has many peers in Summit County – older, athletic types who spend half the year in the High Country – but few can keep up with him.

“I hook up with people all the time but no one really steady,” Stamm said. “I ride with younger guys.”

The Sports People series will focus on active Summit Countians every Tuesday in the Summit Daily.

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