Henry skates to the finish on a flat | VailDaily.com

Henry skates to the finish on a flat

TMG bike championship KA 6-2-07

VAIL ” Jay Henry was having a tough time keeping a lead on the downhill portions of Saturday’s Teva Games’ Nature Valley Mountain Biking Championships with two good tires.

So when Henry’s back tired flatted out with more than a mile to go in the race, he was just waiting for Ross Schnell to pass him.

“Ross and I were ducking it back and forth, back and forth, and I had a good gap on the last lap, the flatted out. Ross was going so fast on the downhill (sections) ” it’s hard enough to stay ahead of him without a flat.”

Henry gutted out the last portion of the race to pick up the win.

“I was very relieved,” Henry said. “The finish line couldn’t have come any too soon.”

Schnell came in second, while local Jimi Mortenson had a great race to take third.

“I’m a perennial second-place finisher,” Schnell joked, recounting his same finish in last year’s race. “If I’m going to lose to anyone, Jay is a pretty good guy to lose to. We’re always battling, egging each other on. He’d go by me on the climb, and I’d go by him on the descent. It’s always a battle, but fun.”

At the end of the race, Schnell said he had some trouble catching Henry.

“I don’t have my altitude legs yet ” I’ve been at sea level for a long time and just came back up,” Schnell said. “I was peddling like a small child and (Jay) was standing up and hammering.”

Henry was worried keeping the lead, and also subconsciously thinking about getting a flat.

“You have a solid lead, and are coming down and saying, ‘Be smooth, be smooth, don’t flat.’ And you don’t want to say that in your head,” Henry said. “I took a line I hadn’t taken all day and pinged my wheel on a rock.

“It was almost comical. It’s the worst situation ” comfortably in lead, and now I’m not so comfortable in the lead now. It actually took a while for the air to come out, so I wasn’t completely out of control until about a half mile, then it was like riding on ice ” your wheel is going back and forth.”

Full results were not available at press time.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

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