Celebration of life | VailDaily.com

Celebration of life

Carolyn Pope
Carolyn PopeDavis Hermes, Jake Dippy, Sidney Sappenfield and Finn Dippy of Team High Maintenance in Training.

It was a fitting tribute to an amazing man.

The Mike Janelle Berry Creek Bash was held last week with many of his friends donning their cycling gear and pedaling up mountains in memory of the man who loved the Rockies, his family and the sport of cycling.

“He was a real inspiration,” said friend Laurie Medina. “You’d see him riding up Wildridge in the snow with his skis on his back. He’d always have a smile on his face.”

The ride, held June 18, was sponsored by The Vail Recreation District, which named the second mountain bike race of the town series after him. E-Town in Edwards hosted the post-party, a “Celebration of Life” fundraiser, where people downed cold beer after a hot day on the road and reminisced about the young man who touched many lives.

Friends Jay Henry, Mike Kloser and Josiah Middaugh offered themselves up as sacrificial celebrities in a “dunk tank.” An Electra Cruiser, donated by The Kind Cyclist, was raffled off to help raise money for Mike’s son, Mike Jr., who was born just a few short months after his father died of heart failure this past November. The event raised around $5,000.

I asked Amy Hermes, who helped create the event along with her group of gals, team “High Maintenance,” what was so special about Mike.

“What wasn’t special is really the question,” she answered. “Mike was a vivacious person, full of life. I’m not sure how seriously he took life or himself for that matter. He was such an amazing athlete, but never had an attitude about it. He was the first after a race to ask, ‘How was your race?'”

“I can’t remember him happier than when he married Maribel, and then when they announced the news of her pregnancy. He was so very excited to be a husband and father.”

Janelle represented the United States at the 2005 UCI World Marathon Mountain Bike Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. The same year, he and Jay Henry, riding together for the Ford/Tokyo Joe’s team, won the duo pro category at the 24 Hours of Moab race. He also was part of the 2005 and 2006 Race Across America (RAAM) winning team from Beaver Creek/Vail.

“Some of my fondest memories of Mike are from the many race after-parties we both attended,” added Hermes. “Riding him “double” on my bike, swapping prizes, not to mention the dancing and the laughing! He lived everyday to its fullest and blessed everyone in his path with a smile.”

If you’re interested in helping Mike’s family out, visit http://www.livelikemike.org. You can make a donation on the Web site or buy commemorative items. Proceeds go into a trust account at First Bank. You can also buy water bottles at the Kind Cyclist and headset caps at the Mountain Pedaler in Eagle.

>> To help us publicize your event, e-mail VailCarolyn@comcast.net or call (970) 748-2989.

Click on photo galleries at http://www.vailtrail.com to see more photos from this event.

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