Familiar rivalries at Berry Creek Bash
EDWARDS — Racing on the newly designed Endo Alley on Wednesday, mountain bikers attacked the Berry Creek course in the second of seven races in the Vail Recreation District series.
In a familiar battle of the local pros of different disciplines — cross-country racer Jay Henry, cyclocross racer Jake Wells and cross triathlete Josiah Middaugh — it was Middaugh on top, but not by much.
“He was motoring on the climb,” second-place Wells said following the race.
As far as the downhill goes, “The redesign is way better,” Wells said. “It’s not just straight down the fall line anymore.”
Women’s pro winner Tamara Donelson said getting back to having fun in races has helped her perform well this season.
“You can get really stressed out about a Wednesday race if you let yourself,” she said. “It’s supposed to be just about having fun, but in the Vail Valley, everyone is an ex-pro of some sort.”
One current pro the men’s field did not end up competing against was pro triathlete John O’Neill, who pulled out of the race at the last minute due to problems with his mountain bike.
“I hardly ever mountain bike, so it’s probably for the best,” he said.
O’Neill leaves for triathlon competition in China on July 1. Before that, he plans on racing in the Vail Recreation District’s trail running race on June 20. Earlier this week, O’Neill won the final race in the Vail Recreation District’s whitewater race series.
“Maybe the flat tire was a sign I shouldn’t race tonight,” O’Neill said.
In the hotly contested men’s sport division, Nolan Herzog continued his rivalry with Michael Barrett for Herzog’s second straight win — and Barrett’s second straight second — in the Vail Recreation D mountain bike race series. They both race for the Eagle County High School team, which is actually two teams.
“I was really impressed with the competition out here,” Herzog said following the race.
Also from the local high schools team, Luke Vickerman won the men’s expert division and Nathan Cook won the men’s beginner division.
There was no never ever category, so single speeder Chris “Cactus” Douglas raced in men’s sport. Then he raced in men’s single speed, after missing the start.
“He’s a third generation Vail local, now he’s living in Denver so he was really going after it,” Douglas’ cousin Kerry Anderson said while he was racing.
The winner of the men’s single speed, Courtney Gregory, said second-place Ciro Zarate was really pushing him along.
“It was much closer than the last time we raced,” Gregory said.
In that race, the first race in the series, Gregory finished second to Zarate’s first. This time, the two battled it out in what may have been the closest race of the night. Nevertheless, Zarate says he prefers single speed because “it’s more chill,” he said.
The next race in the series will bring racers back to Eagle on June 24.