Riders kick off series with Eagle Classic
EAGLE – The Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series is a challenge to all in a personal way.
There are first-time racers. There are competitors trying to improve their times, win their divisions or just out to have a fun, social evening.
And then there’s Benjamin Mattox. He was at the Dusty Boot, the site of post-race party for Wednesday’s Eagle Classic, to eat some serious steak.
That would be The Bellyache, a whopping four-pound sirloin steak with two side orders, which if consumed in one hour, was on the house.
Young Mattox gave it a most-valiant effort but, after roughly two pounds, called it quits and had some of his friends dig in.
“It’s cooked well. It tastes great. There’s just too much of it,” said Mattox, who is definitely lean enough to be mistaken for a racer. “You wouldn’t be able to ride a bike after eating it.”
That opinion was shared by many riders who gathered to celebrate the long-awaited start of the local series and saw the massive side of beef being carried through restaurant before being presented to Mattox.
“I think I would be a beginner steak eater as well,” said women’s beginner division winner Nadine Davis. “That would not be a good idea.”
“I think I could look at it, but I don’t think I could eat it,” said masters champ Peter Davis.
Paging Dudley Duel
There was plenty of time to amass protein or carbo-load – whatever one’s preference – for Wednesday’s Eagle Classic. The series’ opener was meant to be May 27 with the Hammer in the Hay in Wolcott, but rains postponed that race until June 29.
While at times difficult on training, the moist spring as well as well as Wednesday’s showers made for a great track for the Eagle Classic.
“It was good. It was pretty fast,” Nadine Davis said. “The rain in the afternoon made it perfect conditions. It was nice in the right spots. It was a good course today.”
After he first win in her second season of racing, Davis will be moving up to the women’s sport division at next week’s Berry Creek Bash in Edwards.
Meanwhile, as with the opener of any season of racing, there are still kinks to be worked out. The mysterious Dudley Duel initially won the men’s masters division in a ridiculously fast time.
Once race organizers determined that there was no Dudley Duel present after the race nor had he been seen on the course, Peter Davis ended up winning the division.
“Dudley Duel is a mystery man and I hope some day I’ll catch him,” Davis joked.
On a slightly more serious note, Davis, an Eagle resident was happy to have a leg of the series in his hometown.
“As the weather pushed over it became the best Eagle race we’ve ever had,” he said. “It wasn’t dusty like it usually is. It turned out to be a phenomenal race. It’s great to have it in your backyard. It’s really wonderful that they were able to pull it off in our backyard.”
There were familiar names atop the divisions like Jay Henry and Lisa Isom winning the men’s and women’s pro races. There was also a new division – clysdesdales, for racers who are more than 200 pounds.
Alex Mintling, who is quite the muscular 200-plus pounder, got the honor of winning the first outing.
“It’s a big-guy division and it gets people out,” said Chris Kehoe, who took third among the clysdesdales. “It encourages the big guys to come out and race. It’s a great thing. It’s competitive. We actually had a good race. I’m pretty excited. I’m racing all the races. We’ll see how it goes.”
And for pretty much everyone involved, it was nice to be back in the Wednesday evening summer routine.
“Mountain biking, in general, is my mental health activity. It’s my escape,” Kehoe said. “This is a social outlet. It’s a way to get out and hang out and stay fit.”
In the meantime, Mattox definitely has plenty of steak and eggs in store for him for at least the next week or so.
Eagle Classic division winners
Men’s sport – Christian Shanley
Women’s sport – Cait Boyd
Men’s vet sport – Peter Lombardi
Clydesdale – Alex Mintling
Women’s vet expert – Roxane Hall
Men’s beginner – Brinton Barry
Women’s beginner – Nadine Davis
Junior – Christian Kloser
Men’s pro – Jay Henry
Women’s pro – Lisa Isom
Men’s expert – Barry Davis
Women’s expert – Julia Myers
Men’s vet expert – Adam Plummer
Men’s masters – Peter Davis
Men’s singlespeed – Jay Kocks
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