Hup, hup, hup: Series returns to Camp Hale
Vail, CO Colorado
“Hup! Hup! Hup!,” the crowd cheered the approximately 404 mountain bikers racing the Camp Hale Hup, which gets its name from this traditional cycling cheer.
Gretchen Reeves won the women’s pro-expert division, with Jake Wells taking the men’s title in the same division Wednesday evening in the fifth installment of the Athletic Club at the Westin Mountain Bike Race Series. Their course was a two-lap, 22-mile ride on mostly flat, dirt roads by Camp Hale near Leadville. While an elite competition, this race is unique among the others in the Vail Mountain Bike Series because of the cooperation necessary.
“There’s just so much road and you’re going so fast that we’re drafting so much more than usually, even on the climb.” Wells said. “It definitely benefits you to stay with someone, rather than be out in no man’s land by yourself.”
In the first quarter of the race, Wells with second-place finisher, Jay Henry, broke away from the rest of the field. Heading into the first single track section, Wells made the move and Henry followed, then on the flat sections the two drafted off of each other.
The two came through the first lap together. Wells and Henry worked together until the final minutes of the race.
Henry tried to take the lead on the climb, but Wells could not been shaken. Together, the two turned onto the last stretch of flat road and 22 miles of racing came down to one last stretch of road.
“On a flat straightaway,” Henry said. “I don’t stand much of a chance against Jake.”
Wells finished in 1 hour, 11minutes, 14 seconds with Henry second behind him in 1:13.54. This is Wells’ second win a row and the two are vying for the series title.
While Henry and Wells worked together and finished closely, Gretchen Reeves finished more than 4 minutes ahead second-place Tamara Donelson. When she finished, Donelson said, Reeves had already dismounted her bike. Reeves found help from the men’s veteran group while on the course.
“Every time I got on the road I just got in a group of guys,” Reeves said. “Honestly, every time I was on the roads I got in a group and we were just hauling.”
The next race in the series is the Boneyard Brawl on Aug. 1. However, Henry has been doing back-to-back 50 mile races in preparation for the Leadville 100 on Aug. 11. Wells will be competing at the six-day Breck Epic Classic, from Aug. 12-17.
In terms of the Vail Mountain Bike Series, Henry said, “I’ d love for it all to come down to Beaver Creek.”
The final race in the series is the Beaver Creek Blast Aug. 15.
Intern Stephen Kasica can be reached at 970-777-3190 and followed on Twitter, @stephenkasica, where he tweets live from races.
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