Middaugh wins Davos Dash, but old record stands
June 13, 2018
VAIL — Josiah Middaugh left the Wednesday, June 13, Davos Dash mountain biking race in West Vail thinking he had set a new course record.
But it wasn't meant to be.
Hours after the race ended, organizers discovered that the time they were celebrating — Middaugh's 16:54 — was, in fact, 9 seconds slower than the record set in 2009 by Jay Henry.
"We were so eager to see the record broken that we just jumped the gun," said organizer Beth Pappas.
The Davos Dash is the longest-running mountain biking race in the state of Colorado, dating back to the early '80s.
Middaugh was a good sport about the mix-up.
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"Arrg," was his response.
"Of all the courses, this is the one where you remember your time," Middaugh, 39, said after the race. "For me it's a fitness test to see where I am … it's just a good confidence builder to know that I haven't slowed down yet."
Henry was absent from Wednesday's race, which likely added to the confusion, as he was one person who was definitely aware of the previous course record. Also absent was local cyclocross racer Jake Wells, another perennial rival to Middaugh and Henry.
"I've never done this race by myself — there were no other J's there," Middaugh said following the race. "So that was the hardest part, just staying focused. But I think it might have played in my favor because normally it ends up being a little bit of a tactical race and you're waiting to decide when you can make a move, whereas in this I was going for a good time, and so I just kind of rode steady hard from start to finish."
Middaugh also used narrower tires — 2 inches wide — this year, which he said also might have made a difference.
"I would never ride these otherwise," he said of the tires. "That gives you a couple seconds, but maybe that's all I needed."
The Eagle-Vail resident was able to celebrate with his family, as his sons Porter, 12, and Sullivan, 14, also competed. Porter Middaugh won the kids race.
Since its inception in the early '80s, the Davos Dash has attracted fans who line the streets of Davos Trail and Cortina Lane, where the race takes place.
The race climbs 923 feet over 3.5 miles, starting in the West Vail neighborhoods where riders buzz past residents who gather outside their homes and cheer on those suffering up the climb.
For more than three decades, Cortina Lane resident Byron Brown was among those cheering on the riders, ringing a cowbell and yelling out words of encouragement.
Brown died in September at the age of 86. On Wednesday, his wife Vi Brown stood outside their home with a large group of friends, who remembered Byron Brown as they watched the race.
"He loved this race," Vi Brown said of Byron. "He was out here for 34 years."
In remembering Byron, Vi Brown said she will be eternally grateful that he was able to keep his wits about him into his final days.
"He had no dementia," Vi Brown said. "I got to talk to him right up to the end, and tell him what a great guy he was."
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In a new twist for 2018, residents of the recently constructed Chamonix Vail townhomes were able to take a front seat for the action.
Longtime local Chip Howard was lucky enough to win the rights to purchase one of the townhomes in the lottery that was held in 2017, and on Wednesday he sat on his back porch with friends John Sorba and Loren Dumont and watched the riders take off.
"It was actually my idea to head over to Chip's new place and watch the race," Dumont said.
Howard was ready with a grill, corn on the cob and, of course, a cowbell.
"We're going to make it a tradition," he said.
For complete Davos Dash results, pick up of the Vail Daily's Friday, June 15, edition.
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