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Biking series returns to Camp Hale

SPT Camp Hale Bike 01 TS 07-09-08
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CAMP HALE, Colorado ” Ron Gruber had a good evening Wednesday.

After competing in the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Series for 10 years, he won his division ” men’s masters ” for the first time at Wednesday’s Camp Hale Hup. He also ended up taking home a skateboard, raffled off during the post-race party at Kirby Cosmo’s in Minturn.

“It’s a big night, and my daughter won her race,” Gruber said of his 11-year-old daughter triumphed in her Little League division.

On a night like this, Gruber probably should have bought some lottery tickets ” or not.

“I’m just a little superstitious,” he said. “I don’t get too excited when it’s going good, and hope it stays that way.”

Welcome back

Two weeks after the heart-pounding uphill that is the Davos Dash, Wednesday’s race was a good opportunity for racers to stretch out their pedaling legs for an 11-22 mile jaunt.

“The other races are how fast can your heart beat? I loved it,” said Stacy Lake, who was second in men’s sport. “The reason I loved it was that there was no giant hill where a skinny little guy could blow me away.”

For the record, Lake describes himself as “considerably not skinny” at 195 pounds.

With a considerably longer race than Davos, riders had time to get into the flow of things and start to work on strategy with fellow competitors.

“It’s a road race. It’s a lot of uphill and dirt,” women’s expert winner Jen Pinkus said. “If you get behind someone and draft, it’s got a really fun downhill and some singletrack. It’s a little bit of everything.”

It was also the first time in two years that series returned to the old home of the 10th Mountain Division.

“It’s really cool because it’s out in the middle of nowhere, and it has a lot of history behind it,” said Erica Nagy who finished second in women’s vet expert.

“Camp Hale is awesome,” Gruber said. “There’s so much strategy, drafting. I was mad because I didn’t keep up with the pack. I had to work harder. It a great trail. It’s a beautiful valley.”

That is, of course, if you look up during the course of the race.

“I don’t know if I ever looked up, but probably, it’s a pretty place to race,” Pinkus said.

New wheels

With two races left ” the Vail Grind July 23 and the Beaver Creek Blast ” the drama grows on the skateboard front. After each race, Street Swell, a Gypsum-based company and series sponsor has been giving away a longboard. These are, by no means, your average skateboard, made of wood with an elegant finish.

Gruber has a good idea of what he’s going to do with his newest set of wheels.

“Allie’s 11 and I have a 9-year-old son, Robby,” Gruber said. “He’s probably going to check it out.”

Anyone else for some skateboarding?

“Yes, of course,” Nagy said. “I don’t even know how to skateboard, so this would be interesting.”

“I’m 0-for-4. I’ve been keeping track,” Lake said. “I’m working on it.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Division winners

Men’s pro elite: Brett Morgan

Women’s pro elite: Gretchen Reeves

Men’s expert: Paul Gorbald

Women’s expert: Jen Pinkus

Men’s vet expert: Thane Wright

Women’s vet expert: Robyn Ritsch

Men’s vet sport: Ron Braden

Men’s masters: Ron Gruber

Men’s sport: Tyler Eaton

Women’s sport: Anna Stanick

Men’s beginner: Christian Shanley

Women’s beginner: Gerlinda Debi

Men’s singlespeed: Courtney Gregory

Juniors: Christian Kloser

For complete results, check out vaildaily.com or Friday’s print edition.


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