Middaugh back on top; local pro wins first Vail mountain bike race of the season
CAMP HALE – Facing another round of tough competition, Josiah Middaugh reminded racers what his specialty is on the mountain bike.
Middaugh topped the professional division podium at Wednesday’s Vail Recreation District race for his first win of the season in the local series. While Middaugh is a regular winner in the series, this season the Vail Recreation District Races have been attracting double or even triple the amount of professional-category racers as in years past, making for tough competition.
In the first race of the season in Eagle Ranch, Middaugh finished fourth behind a pair of athletes from the Bear National Development Team out of California and Lasse Konecny, a 16-year-old phenom from Breckenridge who races for Rouleur Devo.
The following race, the Berry Creek Bash in Edwards, five-time national champion Russell Finsterwald, who won the race, followed by another Bear National Development Team racer, Bjorn Riley. Middaugh was third, and Riley said he believed it was the downhill sections which allowed him to hold off Middaugh.
On Wednesday, however, there wasn’t many downhill sections. The long and flat course played to Middaugh’s strength, which is to go what he called “wire to wire.”
“I know my pace, and I know what I can handle, and if they catch me, they catch me,” he said.
Bjorn Riley said he tried to catch Middaugh toward the end of Wednesday’s race, but wasn’t able to get there.
“He’s just full power,” Riley said. “Always on, so consistent.”
Riley, who is 18 years old, finished 30 seconds behind Middaugh, with Konecny about 40 seconds behind Riley.
““I gotta keep these young guys humble,” Middaugh said with a laugh.
“There’s such good competition out here,” Riley said.
Top 3 pro division results
1 Josiah Middaugh 1:10:22
2 Bjorn Riley 1:10:52
3 Lasse Konecny 1:11:32
1 Michaela Thompson 1:21:42
2 Abigael Carron 1:21:43
3 Natalie Quinn 1:24:12