Jennifer Barbour displays definition of a true winner at Bailey Hundo

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By Christie Greene

 For  the Courier

BAILEY — In the summer of 2015, Jennifer Barbour stepped up to the stage where an announcer stood, microphone in hand,  reading names of the event’s champion, category by category.  

Barbour stepped up onto the winner’s podium, looking out over the crowd of bikers, friends and supporters. She and two other women held their trophies high above their heads as the cameras recorded the moment and the audience hooted and clapped with enthusiasm.

Her months of grueling training, her determination and grit, and her top-notch fitness level had paid off. Barbour went home with possibly the most unique award in the biking world. Bikers crossing the finish line are awarded a cross-section of a pine tree trunk cut in half with a rustic metal plate engraved with the word “HUNDO” or “HUNDITO,” depending on which of the races they had finished. The fastest three women and men of each age category receive larger trophies of the same design.

Putting this accomplishment in perspective, the Bailey HUNDO is a 100-mile mountain bike race with hundreds of riders from across the state. Another race of 50 miles, the HUNDITO, finishes at the same location, where fans and supporters await with claps, smiles, a hearty lunch and cold beer. Barbour raced 100 miles to claim second place that year, and she was eager to repeat or improve her time in the 2017 race, which took place on Saturday.  

She was feeling strong as she pedaled up and down hills on loose gravel, over rocks and tree roots, brushing against branches and leaving behind a small wake of fine dust. 

After she had ridden hard for 27 miles, something happened, which changed the day in a significant way.  A male racer just in front of her ricocheted off a tree and fell hard, possibly causing serious injury. Barbour’s first reaction was to stop and assist the man who was suffering pain and shock. As she knelt by him, other racers passed, including women with whom she was competing.  

Hours later, Barbour crossed the finish line, still with a very respectable time, appearing to be almost stunned with exhaustion and streaked with the dust that pervades the dirt roads and single-track route most of the 100 miles. She relayed the story of the fallen rider, who was later visible standing in the crowd with his arm wrapped in gauze.

Soon after, her energy appeared to return and flashing a dynamic smile through the sweat and dust, she headed over to the food table. Later, three women stood on the podium, holding their wood trophies high over their heads. Barbour was not among them.

“Regarding giving up a podium spot, who knows, but this is only bike racing for heaven’s sake,” Barbour said. “Another person’s safety is more important, and we all should care for one another out there.”  

Regardless of the outcome, Barbour is happy to support the event as both a board member and competitor, given that its goal is to raise money for Trips for Kids, COMBA (Colorado Mountain Biking Association), and the Colorado High School League.  

“The HUNDO, more than most races I’ve participated in, has folks who look out for one another. It’s really just survival out there for many. So unless bike racing is how you earn your living, stopping for a fallen rider should never be out of the question,” Barbour said.  

Jennifer Barbour was the true winner of this race. Perhaps the HUNDO organizers should have sent her home, not with a tree trunk cross section, but with an entire tree. Let’s hope all racers have a bit of her values every time they hit the dirt.