Middaugh edges out Kloser in classic | VailDaily.com

Middaugh edges out Kloser in classic

Vail Daily/Shane Macomber About 160 racers turned out for the Eagle Mountain Bike Classic Wednesday evening in Eagle.

Race officials in the valley may need to consider creating an individual category for local Josiah Middaugh from now on. That’s because it seems that Middaugh wins every endurance event he enters, the latest of which was the Eagle Mountain Bike Classic in Eagle Wednesday night.The local pro triathlete, who also won the North American Snowshoe Championship at Beaver Creek this past winter, skirted past fellow triathlete and friend Mike Kloser on the final lap of the 18-mile race to win the Pro-Elite division.”I’ve done a couple triathlons this year, but this is the first mountain-bike race,” said a winded Middaugh at the finish line. “I guess, it’s probably the first mountain-bike race I’ve won, so that was kind of cool. I had just a small lead on Mike at the end. He definitely made me work. The singletrack is not my strength, and he’d catch me on the downhills on each lap. Finally on the third lap, I put just enough space so that he didn’t catch me.”

Kloser, who was competing in Wednesday’s race mostly to get some good training in, jokingly said that he was OK losing to Middaugh, as long as Middaugh bought him a beer later. “I don’t focus primarily on mountain biking now as much as I used to,” Kloser said. “Plus, I’m putting a few more years on than those boys are. It was definitely a fun race, and it was a better course than last year. It wasn’t quite as dusty, or quite as hot, and not quite as congested.”The organizers of Wednesday’s race were couldn’t have been more pleased with the final product, after weeks of preparation, as 160 racers showed up to race in mild temperatures under a slowly fading sun.”We’re very pleased with the turnout. One-hundred-sixty racers was more than we expected and it seemed to go off very smoothly,” Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce event-planner Kris McKinney said. “We couldn’t ask for better weather and the course was in excellent condition.”Wednesday’s race began in front of the Capitol Theatre in Eagle and wound its way up Fourth of July road onto some single and doubletrack sections before ending up back at the theatre.The men’s and women’s Pro-Elite, Expert and Vet Expert racers completed three laps around the six-mile track, while Sport, Vet Sport, Masters and Single-Speed competitors did two.All Beginner classifications only had to do one lap, and racers under 10 were directed on a two-mile loop. There was also a small race loop setup near the theatre for the littlest of competitors, the 4-6 year-olds.Originally, the scheduled loop for the race was a supposed to be a 6.6-mile course, but race organizers were forced to cut out an added technical climbing section because of a technicality with the Bureau of Land Management.”John Bailey, our race course designer, had come up with a new addition to the course. We got it done, not even a week ago,” executive director of the chamber Tim Cochrane said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough time for the BLM to allow me to amend my permit. The course they’re racing on is six miles. It will go up to 6.6 next year. That will add a 400-foot climb for the future. It’s designed to add a little more technical oomph for the expert and the pros.”

Nobody who raced Wednesday seemed really to care about the restructuring of the course, though. With nice temperatures, a clear sky and a stomping afterparty on the horizon, winning seemed to be secondary to an enjoyable early evening of mountain biking.”I think we all had a very good time,” said Mandy Nichols who raced in the Women’s Sport division for Team High Maintenance. “I have no idea how I did, but it doesn’t really matter.”The final results for Wednesday’s race were not available at press time. Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at npeterson@vaildaily.com

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