Series wraps with Beaver Creek Blast
BEAVER CREEK ” It didn’t go by that fast, did it?
Asthe last race of the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Biking Series and held on and around the soon-to-be ski slopes, Wednesday’s Beaver Creek Blast was a reminder that even on a warm summer night, the snow is coming.
Though a ski instructor come winter Women’s Vet Expert rider Terry Stimac isn’t quite ready for the white stuff.
“It’s actually kind of depressing. The summer is so short,” she said. “I’m a big skier, but I appreciate the summer just as much as the winters as a local. It’s sad to see it go.”
“It’s unbelievable,” said Mike Kloser between bites of pasta and salad. “I couldn’t believe after last week’s Lost Lake Loop that there was just one race left. It seems like the summer goes by quicker every year. It’s a shame. Summers are so gorgeous here. It’s scary.”
To some, maybe.
“I can’t wait. Skiing’s my real sport,” Men’s Sport winner Jason White said. ” I was thinking on some of the cross-slopes. I was looking down because I’ve never really skied Beaver Creek before. I was like, ‘Oh wow, that looks like a nice run. I’d like to get over here and try that.'”
The sun rises in the East
In a development as surprising as oncoming winter in Eagle County, Jay Henry made it 6-for-6 for the series by winning the Men’s Pro-Elite in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 2 seconds.
While not surprising given the way the season has gone for Henry, including a record-breaking performance in June at the Davos Dash, 6-for-6 is quite an accomplishment.
“Jay’s had a phenomenal year, not just locally, but nationally,” Kloser said. “Most of his races have been regional. I know of just one race where he hasn’t finished first or second to my knowledge. He’s had his best year every on the bike.”
For the record, that race to which Kloser alluded was when Henry was ill with a bad stomach. In the meantime, Kloser should be pretty psyched about Henry’s riding as he, Henry, Josiah Middaugh and Michael Tobin are headed to China in two weeks for the Wulong Mountain Quest adventure race.
For Women’s Beginner winner Annemarie Wall, Wednesday’s race was a nice rebound from a messy accident in last month’s Vail Grind. On July 11, she wiped out, and in her words, “sort of ripped my lip off.”
After physically healing, she showed she was mentally able to come back from a spill with a one-lap time of 37 minutes, 41 seconds for a win.
“Right after it happened, I was ready to get back on my bike,” she said. “It was just a matter of healing. It’s always in the back of your mind. You just try to go forward with it and have fun with it.”
Up and down
The Beaver Creek Blast had its traditional route starting at the base of Centennial, over to Lost Buck to Village to Village Trail and up to Red Tail before coming back down the east side of the mountain.
“I’ve ridden the course enough ahead of time to know where it is,” Stimac said. “The first lap is always is super-hard. The second lap, adrenaline takes over. The climb was tough.”
While Lost Buck and the climb to Red Tail usually separate the riders, everyone got a break from the rainfall early in the week.
“The course was probably as good as it ever has been,” Kloser said. “If it rains the night before on a course in the Vail Valley, it usually improves the course. The terrain just gets really fast and really grippy, fun to ride on.”
While the uphill of the Beaver Creek Blast is considered the difficult part of the race, it’s essential to keep powering through the downhill, said Junior winner Cristhian Ravelo.
“The first climb was pretty hard, but the whole thing was pretty much a sprint, just an up-and-down sprint. It’s a relief having sprinted the whole way up. You’re just so happy to finish and be going down. I just try to finish as fast as I can.”
While the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Biking Series is done, few who gathered at the Coyote Cafe for the post-race party were ready to put their two-wheelers away for the season.
Stimac said she’s ready to pedal up Monarch Pass next week. Wall will continue to hit the trails at both Vail and Beaver Creek and wants to head to Moab, Utah, later this year.
“It’s the end of the racing series,” she said. “But it’s not the end of mountain biking season, not until the first snow falls.”
For complete Beaver Creek Blast results, see Friday’s Vail Daily or check out http://www.vaildaily.com.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
Wednesday’s division Winners
Men’s Pro: Jay Henry
Women’s Pro: Gretchen Reeves
Women’s Expert: Toni Axelrod
Men’s Expert: Paul Gorbald
Men’s Vet Expert: Adam Plummer
Women’s Vet Expert: Robyn Ritsch
Men’s Vet Sport: Mike Bradley
Men’s Masters: Philippe Courtois
Men’s Sport: Jason White
Women’s Sport: Elna Persson
Men’s Beginner: Peter Brown
Women’s Beginner: Annnemarie Wall
Men’s Singlespeed: Mike Skellion
Junior: Cristhian Ravelo