Henry hauls, wins Ultra 100 | VailDaily.com

Henry hauls, wins Ultra 100

Andrew Harley

BEAVER CREEK – When Jay Henry, and, later, Julie Hudetz, crossed the finish line Saturday at the 2003 Ultra 100 Mountain Bike Challenge at Beaver Creek, they looked like Yetis, not professional cyclists; their bodies spattered in a 100-mile spectrum of mud, small abrasions and sweat.

As the crowd roared, Henry thrust his arms out and hung his head like a seated martyr, crossing the finish line with a time of 7 hours, 47 minutes, 53 seconds.

Competitors in the 100-mile division of the Ultra 100 faced 14,000 feet of climbing on this year’s course – 11,000 feet of climbing is required to reach the summit of Mount Everest from the base camp.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Henry. “There was so much climbing. I knew the course was going to be difficult, but it was really hard to anticipate.”

Henry, who lives in Avon, races professionally for Specialized alongside last year’s champion, Jimi Mortenson – who didn’t compete in this year’s 100-mile race.

Although Henry has spent 100 miles in the saddle before, he’s never ridden more than 50 miles in a competitive race.

“I’ve done a few 24-hour relay races, trained for two-and-a-half hour cross-country races, which are faster paced,” said Henry. “On this one, I picked a pace I thought I could maintain, and gutted it out.”

Henry opened up a gap on local ultra-marathon hero, Mike Kloser, and Danny Pate, of Colorado Springs, during the ascent of Muddy Pass.

Kloser and Pate came in 15 minutes after Henry. They were neck-and-neck going into the last 500 yards, but Kloser, who had to change two flat tires during the course of the race, once again proved that he ranks among the fiercest competitors in the world, by pulling ahead to take second.

“With Mike and Danny behind you, it’s never safe,” said Henry. “I kept going hard until the end, and I’m worked now. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m thrilled I was able to finish on my own power. And, at the end of the race, I actually felt pretty good.”

Hudetz, who rode a bike she borrowed from a friend, drove to Beaver Creek from Boulder with her boyfriend Friday, and registered just before the 8 p.m. deadline.

Hudetz and her boyfriend camped in the Beaver Creek East Parking Lot Friday night.

“I heard that the male and female winners are put up in a hotel for free (Saturday night). So that was definitely incentive,” said Hudetz.

Hudetz and her team, Team Solomon, took eighth in the Ford Adventure Sport Challenge 24-hour Adventure Race last month. During the 28 hours it took Team Solomon to complete the adventure race, the team spent six hours riding mountain bikes in the middle of the night through a large portion of the Ultra 100 course.

“I didn’t have any (adventure) races scheduled this weekend, and I remembered riding through part of the (Ultra 100) course and thinking, “Hey. I can do this,'” said Hudetz. “Sometimes, things come together. I was so psyched. I just had a great race.”

Hudetz had no clue what place she was in, until she was informed at one of the aid stations.

“We started out in a mass, so I didn’t know who was doing what,” said Hudetz. “I found out I was in second, and I started seeing first place at the aid stations. So, when I reached the 4 Eagle Ranch Aid Station, I traded out my (water) bladder, and had a quick transition. I caught (the leader at the time) on Muddy Pass, blew by her and never saw her again.

“The key to this kind of race is to have a strong, last quarter. That’s what makes the biggest difference. I was really happy with the way I staggered my energy.”

Mike Janelle, of Avon, won the Men’s Ultra 100 Kilometer division.

Shawna Sisca, who was literally the last one out of the gates Saturday morning, took second in the Women’s Ultra 100 Kilometer division.

“The course was awesome. It was kind of mushy in spots, but the weather was nice and cool,” said Sisca, who took fifth in the 100K last year. “I’d like to try the 100-mile next time, if I can get more training time.”

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at aharley@vaildaily.com.

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