Janelle, Isom burn the fastest at 20th Davo’s Dash
The scenery was so stunning it drew goosebumps. The climb was so arduous it made some riders heave.As in the past, the 20th anniversary of Davo’s Dash was a jumble of juxtapositions: an unyielding hill climb so tough that some bikers had to walk their way across the finish line, set against the sublime backdrop of lush Aspen glades, swaying green grasses and a cool summer breeze.The suffering on the way up was only remedied by the staggering views at the top of the 3.7-mile hill, which started at Chamonix Lane in West Vail and ended at the radio towers atop Davo’s road.As women’s third-place Pro-Elite finisher Amy Hermes put it, “This is probably the only race where you get to the end, and I think pretty much everyone can agree that you want to barf.”That is, of course, until you get to look around.
Mike Janelle won the men’s Pro-Elite division in the second race of the Vail Recreation Department Vail/Beaver Creek Mountain Challenge, with a time of 19 minutes, 12 seconds. Janelle pushed ahead of 4-Eagle Ranch-winner, Jimi Mortenson – who flatted out – and held off Josiah Middaugh, who was tuckered out after running a triathlon last weekend in Virginia.”It was me and Jimi off the front, going really hard on the pavement,” Janelle said. “Jimi led up the first dirt part and I was just following him. He got me a little bit, but he flatted. I just rode past him and didn’t look back. I’m always happy to win, even though Jimi flatted.”When asked if the burning pain in the lungs and legs was quelled by the beautiful surroundings, Janelle said that the pain never got to be too bad because deep down his body knew it was only temporary. “It’s so short,” he said. “It always hurts, but we know it so well, that we know where are all the recovery points are. It’s always hard, though.”Middaugh, whose second place time was 19:35, said that the only way he was going to push himself on his bike this week is if he had someone pushing him. After finishing seventh at the Xterra triathlon, the 25-year-old triathlete said that his body wasn’t too excited about another 3.7 miles, almost all of which were on a rugged, uphill slope.”I was a little tired,” Middaugh said. “The legs didn’t want to turn over today. I think it was more from the traveling. That race in Richmond, (Va.,) took a lot out of me. I just felt that lactic acid burn right away. I don’t know if it was a great idea, but I need a hard workout and I’m too tired to do it by myself right now. It was good timing.”
Women’s Pro-Elite”This is one of those races where you don’t really ease into it,” said a beaming Lisa Isom, the winner of the women’s Pro-Elite division. “The gun goes off and you’re gone.”Isom finished ahead of single-speed rider Sari Schwalk (27:20) and Hermes (27:25) with a time of 27:05.While Isom was pleased with her win, she was more impressed with Schwalk’s capability to keep with her.
“I was riding as hard as I could to stay away from her,” Isom said. “It just proves what an incredible athlete she is. She’s strong.”One of the changes to this year’s course is that race officials smoothed out the last 1.7 miles of the dirt road, making the course a little less technical on the tail end. Isom said that she liked the change because it made it easier to pass, but Hermes said it slowed times down because the leveled surface was loose instead of hard. “It was absolutely perfect,” Isom said. “Even though it was soft up here, there wasn’t any dust. The ruts are all gone, so you can pass now the whole last quarter of the way up, instead of having to watch those huge ruts that were there last year. It was optimal.””It’s always good when the rain comes, but they grated the road and so the course was a lot slower than last year,” Hermes said. “It made the road really loose where it used to be really hard packed. Even though there were ruts, you could still go around them a lot faster.”A fitting end analysis for a race full of contrasts.Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.