Riders return to the Eagle Classic, annual series | VailDaily.com

Riders return to the Eagle Classic, annual series

A small step toward normal

Racers begin the 2021 VRD Bloch & Chapleau Town Mountain Bike Race Series with the Eagle Ranch Classic on Wednesday, starting a new season after COVID-19. (Chris Dillmann
Chris Dillmann@vaildaily.com)

EAGLE — Slowly, they trickled in; the power of a free beer after a Wednesday bike race seems to transcend the receding effects of a global pandemic and rightly so.

NHL and NBA playoff games were on the tube as they normally are at the end of May at the Boneyard, the gathering site after Wednesday’s Eagle Classic, the first adult race of the season for the 2021 VRD Bloch & Chapleau Town Mountain Bike Race Series.

Women begin the Eagle Ranch Classic on Wednesday in Eagle. It’s competitive racing, but there is also a social angle to the series which was missing during the last 15 months of COVID-19. (Chris Dillmann

The Tour de Wednesday is back, and there was much rejoicing.

It was a slice of normal … sort of.

The newbie

Lindsey Bergman entered the women’s beginner category, one of several never-ever racers that always come out for the Eagle Classic.

A member of the Vail-Summit Orthopaedics team and a physician’s assistant in that medical behemoth, COVID-19 was nothing new for Bergman. She said she was vaccinated and had no worries on that front.

The bike race? Well, that’s nervous-making.

“Kind of, but there were a lot of other people who were doing their first bike race also,” she said.

Wednesday’s Eagle Classic includes The Wall, a steep climb with switchbacks, followed by the much more popular downhill section where gravity is one’s friend. (Chris Dillmann

Bergman, indeed, completed her first race.

“I didn’t crash,” Bergman said. “I had fun. I wasn’t last. Hopefully, I got some points for my team. Those are all good things.”

Bergman said she’ll be back for the Davos Dash on June 16. Since she lives not far from that trailhead, she has tackled that course already and still wants to race. That might be the biggest breaking news from the Eagle Classic.

Welcome back

For Rob Pierangeli, competing in the men’s masters sport 50+ division, Wednesday’s Eagle Classic was a reunion. The Tour de Wednesday is a tradition of summer, and it’s good to be back.

COVID concerns? Not really.

“No, it’s just great to be post-COVID,” Pierangeli said. “It’s great to have the group together.”

The Tour de Wednesday is back, people. Revel in the normalcy. (Chris Dillmann

Pierangeli sat down for a beer with his bud, Jason Rosener, who was competing for the first time.

“Yeah, new season, but I never raced this series,” Rosener said. “It lived up to the hype.”

Rosener enjoyed the downhill, while Pierangeli was a fan of The Wall, a steep climb with switchbacks.

“After doing it for years, it’s away to reconnect with people who have a love of biking,” Pierangeli said. “We race for each other, cheer for each other. It’s good camaraderie.”

The one time …

Irony can be very ironic. According to our extremely unscientific poll, COVID wasn’t among the concerns of the riders.

Dust was.

“The one time you wish you had a mask,” joked Shaneis Kehoe, of the women’s expert division.

While dust can’t be helped — most cyclists were hoping for some future showers along all trails in the county — Wednesday’s participants seemed keyed into the whole season.

Want more racing. The 2021 VRD Bloch & Chapleau Town Mountain Bike Race Series.continues June 16 with the Davos Dash. (Chris Dillmann

Kehoe rides for Mountain Pedaler.

“[Being on a team] brings a lot of accountability,” she said. “My teammates are encouraging me. You can’t slack off.”

Shannatay Bergeron, competing in women’s sport for Howard Head, feels the same way.

“We’re small, but mighty,” Bergeron said of her squad. “I love it. I use it as exercise and social hour.”

And results

Results were delayed. This is just like the pandemic never happened — the first race always has a delay with results. The Vail Daily hopes to have them in print in Friday’s edition.

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