Malin’s memory at the heart of Vail Classic
VAIL – In the summer of 2003, Vail resident Brett Malin died doing something he loved.On Saturday at the Vail Classic Malin Memorial Ride, Malin’s friends and family members will honor Malin – who was struck and killed by a semi truck while competing in the 2003 Race Across America – by pedaling the Leadville Loop, the training ride that the local pro loved most.”I really don’t think there will be any somberness,” said Adam Palmer, a volunteer coordinator for the event and one of Malin’s former RAAM teammates. “Everybody’s really excited for it. Brett was always someone who liked to joke around and have a good time and this ride is going to be a celebration.”Participants in the ride, which kicks off from Vail Village at 7 a.m., will roll through 80 miles of Colorado high country, climbing more than 5,500 feet in elevation.The one-day loop takes off from Vail and winds it way up through the alpine communities of Minturn and Leadville before snaking back down to Copper Mountain Resort. The final leg is a push over Vail Pass and then a coast down into the valley with participants finishing up back in Vail Village.
Palmer said the reasons that the Leadville Loop ride was Malin’s favorite training stretch are simple. “Obviously, there’s the physical challenge,” Palmer said. “Then, there’s the scenery and the four unique mountain towns and the curvy roads. There’s also something to be said about going over four passes.”For those riders who find the thought of an 80-mile ride too daunting, organizers of the ride have arranged shorter routes and shuttle busses to accommodate riders of varying skill levels. Shorter routes include a 40-mile loop over Vail Pass to Copper Mountain and back as well as a bike ride to Freemont Pass where riders can catch a free shuttle bus back to the village finish. “The Vail Classic is set up to attract a variety of abilities,” said Arn Menconi, executive director of the Snowboard Outreach Society and the lead organizer of the event. “We hope to accommodate most everyone’s challenges.” While the emphasis of Saturday’s ride will be on fun, race organizers also want to stress safety, being that Malin was killed in a cycling accident.Volunteers will be manning aid stations along the way, and their will be a lead vehicle on the road as well as sweep vehicles to monitor the status of riders.
Bike mechanics and first-aid personnel will also be on call.Registration for the Malin Memorial Ride is $95. The fee includes the Vail Classic jersey, food and sports drinks at aid stations, a post-party meal and a drink ticket. Showers will also be available for free at the Vail Athletic Club afterward.It’s the promise of high-end food at aid stations that lured Laura and David Hansen of Littleton to sign up for the ride.”To advertise gourmet food at the aid stations, we’re real curious how that works,” Laura Hansen said. “I wouldn’t say we’re avid cyclists. We do like to do supported rides. The Copper Triangle, as we call it, is a beautiful ride and real challenging ride and we’re looking forward to doing it.”Betsy Nevin of Edwards said she and her husband, Dirk, signed up for the ride for similar reasons.”He’s really excited to do it with others,” Nevin said. “For me, I’ve never done it all at once. I’ve done it in parts. I’m really excited to do it with support and not have to worry about my husband having to wait for me on all the climbs.”
Participants can register online at http://www.sosride.net or mail the registration form and payment to SOS, P.O. Box 2020, Avon, CO 81620. For more information regarding the Malin Memorial Ride, contact Arn Menconi at 471-4234 or Arn@vail.net, or Heather Gary at 390-6081 or Heather@SOSoutreach.org.Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com