Fifty miles of mountain-bike bliss
Ninety mountain bikers took off Sunday morning from Singletree Park to tackle the Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Marathon. They faced a tough 50 miles of leg-burning climbs and bone-jarring descents.
The Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Marathon was added this year to a busy Vail Valley sports calendar as a tune-up for the Beaver Creek Ultra 100 mountain bike race – which happens later in August. The race follows some of the Ultra 100 course, heading up June Creek to Red and White road, over to Red Sandstone road and Muddy Pass and back down June Creek. Mike Ortiz, of the Vail Recreation District, estimated the vertical climbing to be somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.
Local Men’s Pro Elite mountain biker Jay Henry took home top honors and a check for $1,000 – not bad for two hours and fifty five minutes worth of work. Second place in the Men’s Pro Elite went to local Jimi Mortenson, who was barely seven minutes behind Henry.
Third place in the Men’s Pro Elite division went to Mike Tobin of Boise, Idaho. Tobin edged out his adventure racing teammate, local Mike Kloser, who took fourth place.
“It was a tight race,” commented Henry, “Jimi and I were together up the whole first climb. I knew I had to have a good gap on Jimi because no one can keep up with him on the descents. So, I attacked really hard on the last climb and managed to get enough gap to hold him off on the downhill.”
Henry, who rides for Durango Coke-a-Cola and Specialized Mountain Bikes, had a great race, beating the expected finish time by over an hour.
“There was a lot going on this weekend, but this was a chance to race in my own back yard,” said Henry.
Kelly Emmett of Colorado Springs, also sponsored by Specialized Mountain Bikes, blew apart the women’s Pro Elite division, beating her nearest competitor by nearly fourteen minutes to finish in 3 hours, 39 minutes.
Edwards local Michele Keane took second place with a time of 3:53. Rebecca Hodgetts of Summit County rounded out third place at 3:58.
Emmett, who has been racing on the World Cup Mountain Bike circuit said: “The course was awesome. It was so much fun. I was smiling the whole way.”
She is using this race as a kick start to her endurance training to get ready for the Mountain Bike World Finals in France coming up this September.
In the Men’s Expert division, James Batty took top honors followed by Reggie Corrie and Jono Ridler.
Women’s Expert was won by Linda Bradley, followed by Ann Darby and Lori Medina.
Josh Nota took first place in the Men’s Sport division, followed by John Currier and Dan Brewster.
Heather Batchelor took first in the Women’s Sport division, with Erika Tieszen and Petra Hartmann finishing out the top three.
Adam Lueck is a freelance writer based in Eagle County.