Longest running MTB race in Colorado returns to Vail on Wednesday
IF YOU GO:
What: 34th annual Davos Dash
Where: Ellefson Park area of Vail
When: Kids race at 4:45 p.m.; adults at 5:45 p.m.
VAIL — If you’re not racing in the Davos Dash tomorrow, then it doesn’t mean you can’t still be a part of the action.
Bring the lawn chairs and the cowbells and head out to Ellefson Park for the 34th installment of Vail’s most classic bike race — children race at 4:45 p.m., adults at 5:45 p.m.
Or if you really want to celebrate Colorado’s longest-running mountain biking race like the locals do, then you can line the streets leading up to the trail. Byron Brown — who was the recipient of this year’s Vail Trailblazer Award along with his wife Vi — has lived on the Davos Dash route as long as the race has been underway.
“I’ve told them many times they ought to call it the Cortina Dash,” Byron Brown said. “But they didn’t have Cortina when it first started.”
GREET THE GRIMACE
Indeed, Cortina Lane will be a great spot to congregate and cheer on the riders as they begin their 3.5 mile climb, and you might just meet Vi and Byron Brown there. Vi confirmed on Monday that she plans on being out there cheering everyone on again this year, as she always does.
“We love seeing the riders and the look on their faces as they go by,” Vi Brown said.
She describes that look as one of caring, caring about how they fare in the race. Others might call the look one of grimace as the difficult climb is really starting to set in as the riders hit Cortina Lane. The race begins on Chamonix Lane right outside of Vail’s new town home development, currently under construction. From there, the riders — hundreds are expected to turn out on Wednesday — head to Cortina Lane and finally the dirt road of the Davos Trail, all the way up to the radio towers visible from Eagle-Vail. In total it’s nearly 1,000 feet of climbing, and while it’s a short race, it’s often described as one of the most agonizing by the riders.
It will be the sixth race of the seven-race town series. Individual race costs are $26 for preregistration or $37 on race day. Registration is available online at http://www.vailrec.com/register and preregistration for individual races ends at 5 p.m. today. Day-of registration and bib pickup will end at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and will be located at the West Vail Fire Station. All riders are welcome to participate and racers do not need to be registered in the full series to participate in individual races.
‘GET THE CHAIRS OUT’
Eagle resident Jay Henry has been one of the most recognizable names in competitive cross country mountain biking in Colorado for more than a decade.
Henry says the thing he loves most about the Davos Dash, besides the fans lining the beginning of the course, is the fact that the race has remained unchanged for so long.
“This is really the only mountain bike race where the time is such a barometer of how well you’re doing (with your own fitness),” Henry said this past year.
Henry won the Davos Dash in 2016 after facing tough competition from professional road biker Cristhian Ravelo, who finished second. Both are members of Team Tokoyo Joe’s.
Tokoyo Joe’s owner Larry Leith happens to live on the Davos Dash route near the Browns.
For a guy who has owned a professional mountain biking team for the past 15 years, having a race come by your house is “pretty special,” Leith said. “We all sit out in front, all the neighbors get the chairs out, obviously we cheer everyone on, but we cheer the Joe’s riders and the Pedal Power riders just a little bit harder,” he added.
The race will include an after-party at the Vail Ale House with a free keg of beer provided by New Belgium Brewing Co. for those 21 and older. Prizes will also be presented after the race to the top three finishers of each category, as well as a raffle prize drawing featuring products from race sponsors, area merchants and national companies. Pedal Power, the official bike shop of the Davos Dash, will be on-site to provide neutral support for racers with last-minute mechanical issues.
Vail Recreation District’s mountain biking competition will continue in Beaver Creek for the Beaver Creek Blast on August 23.