Beaver Creek a Blast for bike racers
Pasta for dinner on a summer evening after you’ve biked from the base of Centennial all the way to the top of Beaver Creek mountain is an even better thing.
And after a grueling bike race like Wednesday’s Beaver Creek Blast, the latest in the Beaver Creek and Vail Summer Adventure Ridge Mountain Challenge, the calories were well deserved.
“It’s definitely a bit different when you’re taking a lift up in the winter and pedaling up in the summer,” Pro/Elite racer Mike Kloser joked.
“I was dying out there,” Beginner racer Brian Dalrymple said. “The guys who passed me said, “Keep going. Keep going.’ But I can’t even get the air out to say thanks.”
Dalrymple, who, it should be noted, is much more proficient in rugby than mountain biking, was just one of several hundred racers working their way up the mountain competing in multiple divisions.
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Jimi Mortenson was the first up to the top in the men’s Pro/Elite division with a time of 51 minutes, 52 seconds.
“Jimi’s a great kid. He’s young. I’d like to have those years back,” said Kloser, who finished three minutes behind Mortenson in second. “For me, I try to keep it all in perspective. I’m out here to try to enjoy it. I’ve had my years of suffering because I felt I had to. Now I’m going to enjoy it. I think our rivalry is definitely friendly.”
Judy Freeman took top honors in the Women’s Pro/Elite. Racing for Pedal Power – she wanted to wish Pedal Power’s Bruce Kelly a happy anniversary – she made it to 11,000-plus feet in 1:07.31.
“It’s just pacing yourself,” she said. “If you pace yourself, you’re going to get in a good groove. When it’s getting really hairy on the steeper sections, you just work through it. It all kind of evens out. It’s great. It feels awesome and it’s beautiful.”
Sari Chwalk was second with a time of 1:09:31.
In Men’s Expert, there was some drama. Adam Plummer edged Chris Mitchell by just one second to capture top division honors. In Men’s Vet Expert, Peter Davis cracked the hour mark for a win followed by Dawes Wilson and Jonny Love.
While the higher levels of the competition scaled their way all the way up to the top, the courses of other divisions stopped halfway at Spruce Saddle.
“This year, some of the categories that went to the top last year didn’t have to go there this year,” Kloser said. “If they wanted too, after they finished at Spruce Saddle, I saw a number of people riding up. So, I think they kind of fulfilled their wishes there, but also didn’t have to suffer that extra 20 or 30 minutes.”
Jake Wells led the way in Men’s Sport. Steve Hill topped Men’s Vet Sport. In the Men’s Masters division, Paul Sands carried the day. Sean Molloy topped all comers in the Men’s Beginner division. In Single Speed, Charlie Evans won top honors.
Winners in women’s divisions included: Amanda Evans (Expert), Deb DeCrausaz (Sport), Kim Fields (Vet), Cindy Rasmussen (Master) and Ann Darby (Beginner)
In junior competitions, Reade Whitney was the fastest in Junior Men 15-18. Teddy Hockenberry won Junior Boys 12-14. In the Junior Girls 12-13, it was Natalie Baldwin, while Zach Bailey topped Boys U-11.
The Beaver Creek and Vail Summer Adventure Ridge Mountain Challenge series continues next Wednesday with the Vail Grind at Golden Peak.
For complete results of the Beaver Creek Blast, see Friday’s Vail Daily.