Teva races to run despite snow
May 16, 2011
VAIL – Yes, there’s still a lot of snow on Vail Mountain. And no, it won’t be all gone in a couple of weeks. But the Teva Mountain Games are still a go.
“We’re talking about outdoor sports, after all,” said John Dakin of the Vail Valley Foundation, which puts on the games.
Dakin said Vail Resorts crews have cleared off the on-mountain roads on Vail Mountain. If there’s still a bunch of snow on the hill, events will run on those roads.
And, whatever the state of the snowpack, the on-mountain events will stay in Vail, Dakin said.
“The Mountain Games were born and reared in Vail,” Dakin said. “We’ll look at re-routing or making adjustments. But we’re not going to take an element of the games and have it someplace else.”
Whatever the weather holds over the next couple of weeks, it’s just about guaranteed that riders and runners will have to contend with somewhere between some and lots of mud.
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Andreas Calabrese of the Mountain Pedaler in Minturn has raced mountain bikes for nearly 15 years in all kinds of conditions on a couple of continents. He said racing in sloppy conditions requires both keen attention to equipment and paying extra attention to the course. Tires with a bit more tread are helpful, Calabrese said. And taking a bit of air out increases a rider’s contact patch.
“If there are little things mechanically, they’re magnified in mud,” Calabrese said.
But perhaps more important is a rider’s mental preparation.
“You need to take it easy in corners and stay upright,” Calabrese said. “It’s just a matter of being mentally prepared.”
There isn’t a lot a boater can do to change a kayak, but big water – and big water is a good way to bet for the first week of June this year – is a mental challenge for people racing local creeks and rivers.
Sean Glackin of Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards said boaters need to understand where the water is going, and what it’s covering.
Glackin said low waters might provide lines around boulders, but high waters will let boaters sail right over, or can create waves of various trickiness. The key, he said, is practice.
But, Dakin said, anyone trying to predict conditions now is on a fool’s errand.
“But that’s just the mountains in the first week of June,” he said.