Davos Dash is the winner at the Davos Dash
WEST VAIL — Welcome to the Davos Dash, the annual bike race that blurs the lines between recreational racing and pure masochism.
This is technically the second-to-last Vail Recreation District’s East West Destination Hospitality Mountain Bike Race Series, but racers always circle this one on the calendar.
It’s nearly 1,000 feet uphill in more than 3 miles.
“It doesn’t matter what fitness you’re at, it’s always hard,” men’s pro rider Cristhian Ravelo said. “If you are just getting started in cycling, it’s going to feel hard because you haven’t been training. If you’re a pro, it’s hard because you’re going against really fast guys. Everyone’s going to feel it.”
This is coming from a rider who finished second only to Jay Henry on Wednesday. Ravelo is competing in the Leadville 100 later this month and then off to Vermont for a four-day stage race. (By the way, Gretchen Reeves won on the women’s side, but both Henry’s and Lisa Isom’s records still stand.)
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Ravelo rides for a living and the Davos Dash takes it out of him. Therefore, the Wednesday warrior should feel even better about him or herself for doing it.
Oh, stop that
Peter Davis, of Eagle, is no stranger to the Davos Dash.
“You gotta dash the whole way if you want to go fast,” said Davis, who’s in the men’s vet expert category. “It starts here in West Vail and you have to be on the gas the whole way.”
What Davis did not mention at that point is how he warms up for the Davos Dash — by doing the Davos Dash.
Yes, he did it twice on Wednesday, one as a warm-up and then the real thing, which is really obnoxious. Seriously, Davis is a nice a guy as one will meet, but a good portion of the rest of the field spit out their Cheerios reading that.
Nancy Mires, of Eagle, was in the women’s beginner category and there was not as much dashing for her at the Davos Dash.
“So you enjoyed it twice as much because you had twice as long to immerse yourself in the experience,” Innes Isom said to Mires.
“That’s one way of looking at it,” Mires replied.
We give Mires extra credit for replying tactfully, and adding, “The reason I come to this race are the people who come here. It’s the camaraderie.”
On a serious note, with the Davos Dash being held every year, Mires still wants to know she can do it.
A new approach
There was a bit of a stir at the Vail Ale House, the site of the postrace party, with what was likely the first time an e-bike was used during the VRD series.
Michael Smith, 69 and turning 70 at the end of the month, competed in the Davos Dash during the 1990s, and wanted to give it another go.
“What happens is you do not go into oxygen debt,” Smith said of his bike.” You still have to pedal it. You still have to pedal it hard. But when you climb, you’re not in oxygen debt. You’re not spitting up a lung.”
And the not-spitting-up-a-lung thing seems a sensible way to do things. While entered in the grandmasters division, Smith repeatedly said that he was withdrawing his time — a brisk 19 minutes — from the individual competition and the points.
“I’m not going to take it away from those guys. I’m racing against myself,” Smith said. “What I’m thinking is that we’re going to start picking some of the old guys out of the woodwork. I want to establish an e-bike class.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.