Eagle’s Karen Jarchow wins National Ultra Endurance series
EAGLE — The National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series concluded on Oct. 31, with local mountain biker Karen Jarchow claiming a top women’s spot.
The National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series, known as the NUE series, was founded in 2006 as a way of elevating the sport of ultra-endurance mountain biking to the national stage. Jarchow swept the marathon mountain biking category, which is considered anything from 50 miles to 100 kilometers.
For Jarchow, that’s right in the sweet zone.
“That distance is my favorite distance because I can go hard and feel good the whole time,” she said. “In a 100-mile race, I’ll always have a point where I just hate it.”
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Jarchow lives within minutes of the singletrack sidewalks in Eagle and rides around town frequently. She trains with coach Lynda Wallenfels out of St. George, Utah, and rides for Team Topeak-Ergon, a world-level team with European and American component.
This summer, the NUE series took Jarchow to Utah, South Dakota and Wyoming. The series itself has 14 events in 13 states spanning from New Hampshire to California, but in the women’s marathon division this year Jarchow found that she only needed to win three or four races to amass the points it would take to be declared winner at the end of October. Consequently, she didn’t even need to show up at the final contest in Costa Rica, which was designed to be an end-of-season treat for the riders.
“I definitely would have loved to have raced there,” she said. “But at that time I had a lot going on so looking back it was probably a good decision.”
Jarchow also won the local Vail Recreation District mountain bike race series this year.
And she got married in September.
“In 2016 everything clicked, I was able to line up each race with a healthy mind and body, everything felt very balanced,” she said. “Personally and on the bike, there were lot of great things going on,”
Jarchow works with local Mike McCormack, who organizes local and regional mountain biking events including Eagle Outside, Vail Outlier and Breck Epic. In his more than 25 years in the business, he’s seen the full spectrum of the pro mountain biking mindset.
“It’s about more than results, a pro really has to be an ambassador,” McCormack said. “Karen really embodies that. She conducts herself with dignity and humor, has a long history of giving back to the sport and has turned hundreds of kids on to mountain biking.”
‘A NEW GENERATION’
Among the accomplishments of which Jarchow is most proud is helping to bring the singletrack sidewalks to Eagle along with McCormick, and then helping local kids get out and ride them properly through her involvement with the Vail Valley Alternative Sports Academy, a WECMRD program.
Local mom Kelly Veitch enrolled her kids, 9-year-old Shaw and 7-year-old Yaro, in the program this summer.
“We had such a great summer after the kids did the mountain biking camp with Karen,” Veitch said. “The kids were so much more confident to ride with us.”
Kelly and her husband, Rob Veitch, spent the rest of the summer riding with their kids, something they could not have done before Jarchow’s camp.
“We did family road trips all around the state, and they all revolved around mountain biking together,” she said.
Jarchow said she tries to teach the kids good trail etiquette and stewardship in addition to bike handling skills.
“We’re trying to raise a new generation of trail users who respect the trail as well as each other,” Jarchow said. “We focus on cultivating overall riding first, instead of just trying to go as fast as they can.”
For more information, visit vvasa.org.