Mountain bikers start season in Eagle |

Mountain bikers start season in Eagle

SPT VRD bike 1 KA 4-27-11

EAGLE – Twenty minutes isn’t that long. It’s time for a cup of coffee while glancing over the day’s news, perhaps. It feels a lot longer when you’re going full-out on a mountain bike for the first time this season.

“It feels a lot longer, especially this time of year,” said Amelia Van Dyke of Edwards. “I think everyone’s in the same boat. We’re all happy to get outside and get back out here.”

More than 50 riders came out to the Eagle County Fairgrouds for the first installment of the Vail Recreation District’s MTB Short Track Series Wednesday evening. And while this is the first of four weekly short-lap events to gear up for the summer’s main annual event, the Westin Riverfront Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series, it didn’t take long for the competitive juices to get flowing.

“We all know each other and have fun, but we all like to race each other as hard as we can,” said Vail’s Damien Fraser, who beat out Ross Holbrook by a hair in the expert division, the final race of the evening.

The basic idea behind the spring series is to provide a warm-up to this summer’s series and introduce newcomers to the sport in a mild environment. Adult racers had 20 minutes to compete as many laps as possible at the course at the Eagle County Fairgrounds, while the kids had 10 minutes.

For many, this was their first ride of the season.

“The first time this season,” said John MacLellan of Eagle, emphasizing his first three words. “The weather didn’t cooperate for the last few weeks. I came out cold. I figured the race is the workout. I figured I’d meet some people and have some fun. That’s what it’s all about.”

MacLellan competed in the beginner division and triumphantly said, “Top-10 finish,” when he crossed the finish line. There were only 11 racers in that category, but as is said often in the “Airplane” movies, “That’s not important right now.”

That was the spirit of the evening. Though chilly, it was a night to start pedaling to get ready for the summer series. By the way, the first race of the season is the Eagle Classic May 25, and early registration is available on until May 17.

“It’s awesome,” said Van Dyke, who was the top female in the sport division. “It feels so good to be outside. It’s cold today, but you don’t even notice when you’re going.”

The spring series reconvenes Wednesday at 4 Eagle Ranch.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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