Local bike riders cool with Eagle Classic | VailDaily.com

Local bike riders cool with Eagle Classic

EAGLE — An Eagle Classic without dust?

Next thing you know, the Vail Grind at the end of June will actually start at Eagle's Nest and run down the mountain.

Wednesday night's opener for the 2013 Vail Beaver Creek Mountain Biking Series, sponsored by The Westin Athletic Club, proves there's a first time for everything.

"It was perfect for riding," said Anna Martin, of Edwards, who was competing in the women's beginner division. "You don't get too hot while riding, and when you were done, you wanted to get inside because it was a bit chilly. Eagle can get hot, but the track was great. It wasn't too dusty. That always helps."

Early-afternoon rain showers tamped down the track and cool weather followed by the time all the racers left the start. Ordinarily, racers congregate at the post-race party on the Dusty Boot's back deck mingling around the free-beer keg. This year, it was a quick trip for most to get that beer — priorities, of course — and then back into the Dusty Boot for socializing.

Happy summer, sort of

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The first race of The Westin Athletic Club Series — the Eagle Classic was partially rained out last year — is usually the summer reunion for the mountain-biking community, and there were plenty of familiar faces on hand.

"Some people are hardcore," said Edwards' Dave Metz, who was in the Clydesdale division. "I just like to say hi to people I know and have a few beers."

Metz actually had a bit of an adventure getting to the race. His job is in surgical supplies and he was in Denver on Wednesday. Metz actually was late in getting to the start for his division.

"I showed up late. I started late," he said. "I think I started with the beginner men. The trail was in great condition, nice and tacky. It was fun."

Ryan Allen was among the contingent who made the drive up from Glenwood Springs to compete in the never-ever division. As the name implies, it's for first-time racers.

"I have never competed before. He dragged me here," Allen said, pointing to his friend John Mount, also from Glenwood. "I was a little bit nervous. It's not mountain biking that I'm used to. It's a totally different beast, a different mindset."

"By the end of the season, he'll be in men's sport," Yount joked.

"I'll never ever be a never-ever again," Allen replied.

Actually, the series will have the never-ever category again for the Davos Dash (July 17) for those interested in dipping their toes into the racing scene.

Going down

In an informal survey of riders during the years, the downhill portion of singletrack toward the end of the circuit is a favorite portion of the Eagle Classic. Gravity does give one a break, but there are some hazards.

Martin, for one, took a tumble on that stretch.

"The first thing I thought about was to move," Martin said. "You don't want to get run over. There are a lot of fast people on the course. Then your ask yourself, 'Are you still functioning?' Then you get back on your bike and pedal as long as everything's still moving."

Martin was none the worse for wear. Like a bunch of riders Wednesday, she had been working up to the summer season. She had been part of a team for The 18 Hours of Fruita and participated in a race on Mother's Day.

Tumbles happen, and women's vet sport racer Mariella Moyer saw her former teammate Ana Jeronomis go down. According to Moyer, the racer trailing Jeronomis stopped her bike, made sure Jeronomis was OK and helped her dust herself off before both continued.

Moyer's a regular in the series, and proud of being a part of mountain-biking community in Eagle.

"When it was raining earlier in the day, I saw a couple of emails about whether we were going to race," Moyer said. "Those of us who live in Eagle knew it was going to dry up and be a powder day.

"Eagle has so much to offer with mountain biking. I wish we could race higher up through Abrams. I know the (Vail Recreation District) has a lot of factors to deal with when it comes to where the race course is going to be. But it's nice for people to come to Eagle, and see what Eagle has to offer. It's a great place."

The series returns to the west of the county for the Boneyard Brawl on July 31. In the meantime, the next race is the Berry Creek Bash on June 12 in Edwards.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Editor’s note

Results were not available as of press time Wednesday night. Please check Friday’s paper for complete results or check out our website, http://www.vaildaily.com.