VAIL - The pack mentality can take its toll, even in something as independent as a trail-running race.A short time after race winner Bernie Boettcher passed a marker on the course of the Teva series trail run at Golden Peak in Vail Sunday, the marker fell, and a group of about 14 racers made a wrong turn.
"I don't really know where it was or what happened after Bernie came through," said race organizer Mike Ortiz of the Vail Recreation District. "He gapped everybody and put quite a bit of distance between himself and Antonio in the beginning."Boettcher put down the fastest time on the 10-kilometer course, finishing in 44 minutes, 22 seconds. Second-place finisher Antonio Holguin rolled in with a time of 48:24, and John Arnot was third in 51:57. After that, the finish sequence got a little muddled. The group of wrong-turn finishers came in simultaneously and were all given a time of 52:00, including Breckenridge runner Helen Cospolich and Anita Ortiz. Both agreed that Cospolich was the rightful champion of the women's field, with Ortiz second and Heidi Vosbeck (54:20) rounding out the podium."We all came in the wrong way," Cospolich said. "I crossed the finish line in the wrong direction. I don't ever get lost in races. But it was kind of funny that just about the whole lead pack except for Bernie was lost together."
The Golden Peak race, which took racers from the Children's Center up the lower part of Vail Mountain before traversing to the Cascade area and back, is considered by many to be the least taxing of all the runs in the series, which continues July 2 with the Vail Hill Climb."This was probably the easiest one," Ortiz said. "There's not a lot of climbing. They all get a little tougher after this."Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 748-2936 or email@example.com.