Team Nike goes 1-2 in Ultimate Mountain Challenge |

Team Nike goes 1-2 in Ultimate Mountain Challenge

TMG River Sprint BH 6-2-07

VAIL ” Tao Berman’s down river kayak sprint gave Team Athletes for a Cure an early lead in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge Saturday at the Teva Games.

But the locally-stocked Team Nike, which was already in good position thanks to Brad Ludden’s second-place kayak finish, jumped ahead on the legs of Jay Henry.

Henry, who will handle the biking events for Team Nike, won the mountain bike race, while Team Athlete’s For a Cure’s Floyd Landis finished deep in the pack.

Berman’s run of 20 minutes, 48.7 seconds was about 20 seconds better than Ludden’s run, although the kayak portion finish counts for 40 percent.

“About a minute into it, I thought it was going to be a long run. I started getting cramped up in my back and wasn’t on my game, but still pulled as hard as I could,” Ludden said earlier in the day, before Henry had raced. “I feel like I carried the torch very well for the rest of the guys. We’ll put it on their shoulders. We’ve got 60 percent riding on (Henry and trail runner Dan Weiland).

Henry was glad to have done well in his bread-and-butter event Saturday.

“That was my stronger race. (Sunday) I’m doing the time trial, and guys like Ned (Overend) can go really fast on road bikes,” Henry said. “I’m going to gut it out.”

In the individual competition, Josiah Middaugh had his usually-impressive mountain bike race, but had an outstanding kayaking run to put him on track as the favorite.

Middaugh was second among individual competitors, coming in at 21:23, a little over a half-minute behind Berman.

“That was my fourth time kayaking,” Middaugh said. “I didn’t swim, so that was the key.”

After a 10K trail run, the Ultimate Mountain Challenge finishes up with a hill climb up Vail Pass.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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