Riders hit new trail in Vail Grind
VAIL – Riders in Wednesday’s Vail Grind hit Hank’s Hideaway for the first time, and they liked it.
A change of pace is a good thing after years of running the same course on Vail Mountain. Hank’s Hideaway took riders to the western-most part of the mountain during the fourth race of the season in the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series.
“The new course was fun,” said women’s vet winner Ann Krieg. “The singletrack was great. It’s a little bumpy because it’s new, but it was a really fun course. I loved it. It’s so nice that the Vail Grind changed it up because we get tired of doing the same races year after year.”
The bumps were understandable. Just like a new pair of shoes, a new trail needs some work before it’s broken in. But as men’s pro winner, Jay Henry, said, ” This was a great way to break a trail in, seeing 300 people out on it.”
“Over time, they’re going to go in and work on it and it will be a great trail,” said Mike Kloser. “Tonight, it was a bit bumpy, and for some, it might have been a little more challenging than they’re used to. But I think it’s going to be an awesome addition to the Vail trail system.”
Kloser should know a bit about changing courses. He works at Beaver Creek and is designing a change for the season-finale, Beaver Creek Blast, in August. Here’s a hint, kids, the high-level divisions are heading out to Arrowhead.
After a new trail, there were some surprise giveaways for some of the winners of the divisions – iPod shuffles.
“Spearhead and Michael Franti,” said Krieg of what is going on her new mp3 player.
Iya Cunningham was contemplating a mixture of hard rock and chill music for her iPod, but she was more excited about winning the women’s sport category in just her second race. Cunningham’s previous race experience consisted of last month’s Eagle Classic before Wednesday’s win.
“It was really exciting to see my name (at the top of the results), and I can’t wait for my nephews to see it,” she said. “They’re just starting to bike and get into mountain biking.”
OK, for her nephews, Severin, 8, and Hayden, 5, just remember your Aunt Iya can bring it on a mountain bike.
Cait Boyd continues to sparkle. In her second women’s expert race, she blew away the field. She took up mountain biking this summer as a hobby, and her competitors probably thinks she needs a new one. Boyd’s won twice in women’s sport and now has a second and a first in women’s expert.
Adam Plummer (men’s vet expert), Peter Davis (men’s masters) and Henry (pro) all made it 4-for-4 this summer in their respective divisions.
And don’t bet against Henry in the next installment of the series, the Davos Dash. He holds the record for this course, which has remained a constant in this ever-changing series. Henry scorched the 3.5-mile uphill in 16 minutes, 46 seconds in 2007.
“I don’t have many years left where I think I can lower the record, so I’d love to take the record down a little bit,” Henry said. “It’ll be broken, but hopefully, I can make it a little tougher to break.”
More importantly, this year’s Davos Dash is also the Mike Janelle Memorial, named for the racer who died in November 2007. The Vail Recreation District, which runs the series, made the decision last year to designate one race per season in Janelle’s honor. Last year, it was the Berry Creek Bash. This year, it’s Davos, and his friends think that this race is quite appropriate.
“It was a course Mike always raced on and always did really well on,” Kloser said. “I know he won it a couple of times. It’s very fitting to name it after Mike.”
Josiah Middaugh finished second in men’s pro in his first appearance of the season. Middaugh’s been a little busy running in triathlons. ” We were joking that I thought he moved away because he hasn’t been out,” Henry joked. … Junior rider Parker McDonald, 13, wanted his name in the paper. So Henry is forecasting that young McDonald will break the 16-minute mark in the Davos Dash in 11 years. … The Davos Dash is July 22.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Women’s sport: Iya Cunningham
Men’s sport: Brandon Bancker
Men’s pro: Jay Henry
Women’s pro: Gretchen Reeves
Women’s expert: Cait Boyd
Men’s vet expert: Adam Plummer
Women’s vet expert: An Krieg
Men’s expert: Jake White
Men’s masters: Peter Davis
Men’s beginner: Kyle Hagberry
Women’s beginner: Annemarie Wall
Singlespeed: Travis Colbert
Clydesdales: Chris Kehoe
Junior: Forest Henzler
Men’s vet sport: Greg Shea
Men’s expert: Rob Veitch
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