Grind is a grind, but it’s finally ground |

Grind is a grind, but it’s finally ground

Leo Soulakis makes his way to the finish line during the Vail Grind mountain-bike race on Wednesday . Soulakis participated in the Larksburger Youth Series, which took him on a 2.2-mile journey.
Townsend Bessent | |

VAIL — To race or not to race?

“I was skeptical, but I thought it was going to happen,” Eagle’s Jason Bent said. “It had to happen.”

The Vail Grind, the latest and greatest in the Vail Recreation District’s Athletic Club at The Westin Mountain Bike Race Series was washed out last week.

“I thought it was going to pour, like yesterday,” Vail’s Nicole Martin said.

“You know what? A lot of us were praying for rain,” David LaGrange joked. “But it happened anyway.”

Wednesday was one of those perfect combinations for bike racing, a ton of rain beforehand to tamp the dust and just enough time between afternoon monsoons to dry out the course, and after a week’s delay, the Vail Grind was ground.

“I thought the course was awesome,” Bent said. “With the rain we had, the traction was good. The downhill was fun. It wasn’t as dusty as it normally was. Uphill’s always a grind.”

But then again, that’s why this is the Vail Grind. The VRD’s marketing department knows what it’s doing.

With summer construction season doing its thing at Lionshead, the usual start and finish for this race, there were new courses for every division. Racers seemed enthused that the race actually started and ended in Vail proper.


While lots were racing for assorted individual honors, there also is the team aspect. After the Battle at Bellyache last month, The Dusty Boot/Mountain Pedaler led Pedal Power, 3,600-3,315, but there are four races to go. In the meantime, Vail Valley Medical Center, in fourth, is still having a good time.

“We work together,” VVMC’s Ashley Dentler said. “We practice together. We ride together. We compete together.”

Next week is the debut of The Son of Middle Creek, an adults-only race up at Red Sandstone. Fear not, kids and juniors, you’ve got your own race in the Boneyard Brawl in two weeks.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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