Valley cyclists shed their winter blues |

Valley cyclists shed their winter blues

Melanie Wong
Daily correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Cycling Season DT 5-9-11

EAGLE COUNTY – The off-and-on higher temperatures and sunshine over the past week have encouraged many Vail Valley residents to dust their bikes off and get on the roads, paths and trails.

And according to many, biking weather has been a long time coming.

“Everybody’s been waiting,” Eagle resident Peter Davis said. “In Eagle, we never get the snow, so everybody is ready in the spring to ride, but the weather has been brutal.”

The past few weeks have brought low temperatures, rain, sleet and snow, much to the dismay of many cyclists in the area.

“It was frustrating. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I had one of the most negative attitudes about it,” Gypsum resident Jenn Sewell said.

However, she said she’s been glad to be able to mountain bike recently, now that the weather is taking a turn.

“It was great to finally get out in the sunshine and release some energy,” Sewell said.

Others haven’t been able to wait, determined to go to spring weather if it won’t come to the valley.

Eagle resident Ted Gould said he’s already taken his mountain bike to Fruita, just west of Grand Junction, five times this spring and has been out on his road bike, as well.

“The plan (this season) is to race and ride my bike as many days as allowed,” Gould said, quickly adding, ” … of course, with work, family and kids.”

Mountain bikers also are looking forward to warmer weather so they can get out on their favorite local trails. The end of the month brings the beginning of the Vail Recreation District’s mountain-bike race series. The series kicks off at Eagle Ranch on May 25 with a new sponsor, the Riverfront Club at the Westin.

This year, the rec district started a series of four “warm-up races” to get people out and riding. The short-track mountain-bike races are 20 minutes long and held on short circuit courses. Two races have already been held at the Eagle County Fairgrounds with good turnout, despite less-than-desirable weather for the first race, said race director Beth Pappas.

“To see this many people out riding is very exciting,” she said. “People seem excited to bike in general – I certainly am. I get to see people that I usually see all summer, and you can feel the vibe out there. It’s a real positive energy.”

One racer, Beaver Creek resident Deep Andrew Dechoudhury, said he can’t wait for the series to start. He said he got into biking recently with a few cycling charity events and now will be competing in the beginners category of the series.

“I’m excited to try and get better on the hills and improve from last year,” he said. “I definitely plan to do all the races.”

Town series veterans, such as Davis, who has been a top contender in the masters category, are ready for some competition, as well.

“I’ve had good luck (in the races), so everyone’s out to catch me,” he said. “I keep telling myself I have some tricks up my sleeve.”