Janelle in mind, Henry crushes Davos in Vail
VAIL, Colorado – Mike Janelle Jr. looked very much the part after Wednesday’s Davos Dash/Mike Janelle Memorial Race.
Better known as Little Mikey to everyone around him, the 15-month-old even had his own Team Little Bit Maintenance cycling jersey while toddling around the stage at the Sandbar.
“He loves to bike,” Maribel Janelle, aka Mom, said. “He has his grandpa’s first bike and a tricycle. He gets on the tricycle everyday.”
“He’s starting to remind me of his dad a lot,” pro rider Jay Henry said. “Just the look in his eyes, it breaks my heart a little bit. It’s familiar. You can definitely tell he takes after his dad.”
With this year’s Davos Dash designated as the Second annual Mike Janelle Memorial, riders came out not only for only the delightful experience of having all the oxygen sucked out their lungs by the traditional 3.5-mile uphill course, but also to remember Mike Sr., who died of heart failure in November 2007 at the age of 40.
The Vail Recreation District, which runs the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series, and Team High Maintenance, all clad in pink jerseys, sold raffle tickets at a brisk rate to help out Maribel and Mikey.
“He was a big part of the community,” said High Maintenance’s Jenny Klingmueller, who also won the women’s sport division. “In biking, it’s such a small community and everybody knows each other. Of course, if we can do anything to help out someone whose suffered such a tragic loss, we will.”
Maribel and Mikey received a warm welcome from all involved. As is the case when a loved one dies, Maribel said some days are better than others, and this seemed to be a good one.
“It’s really nice,” she said. “It’s a good experience for me and Mikey because I know now how many people love my husband.”
Henry breaks his record
Henry certainly put a run down for Mike Sr., his longtime training partner. Not only did Henry make it 5-for-5 in 2009 in the men’s pro division, but he toppled his own record.
Henry obliterated the old Davos mark in 2007 by 30 seconds with a time of 16 minutes, 47 seconds in 2007. Wednesday, he lowered the mark to 16:45.
“I think I had a slow first half and a fast second half. It’s hard to say,” Henry said. “I don’t have landmarks where I time myself, but I had a minute-and-a-half left, and I was still a ways away from the finish, so I didn’t think I was going to do it. I kinda stopped looking at my watch at that point and made it in.”
Henry, who’s likely rode Davos more than any other human should, did want to go out slowly early to save energy for the final steeper pushes. Also key to his strategy was to build speed on the final uphill to carry that into the flat finish area.
“Anything I accomplish in mountain biking is because of Mike,” Henry said. “He was my training partner. His enthusiasm for bike racing was so much that it was enough to give me enthusiasm for my racing. I’ve got to keep that in mind. Anything I accomplish from here on out is Mike.”
The men’s pro top-three was a star-studded one. Josiah Middaugh took second followed by France’s Nico LeBrun, who won Saturday’s Xterra Mountain Cup Triathlon in Beaver Creek. Middaugh was third Saturday.
The Davos Dash is “only” 3.5 miles, but with a steep ascent of 1,300 feet during that period, it’s pretty much a pain-filled experience.
“Basically, you just have to realize that you’re going to be in a certain level of pain for 25-30 minutes and then it’s over,” Klingmueller said. “If you can just say, ‘Hey, I can handle the pain for that long,’ you’re good to go.
“The nice thing is that there are some flats so you get a little bit of rest, but of course, going up to the finish line is just brutal. You’re ready for it to be over.”
Racers are ready for it to be over and understandably were questioning why in the world they are doing this event.
“From the beginning to the end and every moment in between,” joked men’s sport rider Joe Mullins. “I just knew we were going to be red-lining it all the way up. I was just trying to keep up with the pack. Now we’ve got the free beer at the Sandbar, so it’s all right.”
Adam Plummer (men’s vet expert) and Peter Davis (men’s masters), along with Henry, won their divisions, keeping their respective records perfect in 2009. The series ends Aug. 5 with the Beaver Creek Blast.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Men’s pro: Jay Henry
Women’s pro: Gretchen Reeves
Men’s expert: Jake White
Women’s expert: Cait Boyd
Men’s vet expert: Adam Plummer
Women’s vet expert: Ann Krieg
Men’s masters: Pete Davis
Men’s sport: Richard Paradis
Women’s sport: Jenny Klingmueller
Men’s vet sport: Matt Donovan
Men’s beginner: Sean Cozzens
Women’s beginner: Becky Peterson
Men’s singlespeed: Travis Colbert
Clydesdales: Chris Kehoe
Junior: Parker McDonald