Stovall and Middaugh duke it out at the Eagle Ranch Classic mountain bike race

The Vail Recreation District's town series continues at the Davos Dash on June 14

Landen Stovall and Josiah Middaugh ride together during the Eagle Ranch Classic in May. Stovall won the town series men's pro/open season title.
Joe Hess/Courtesy photo

The theme of Wednesday’s Eagle Ranch Classic narrative was the classic ‘young guns versus the old guard,’ and the script’s dynamics were on display early.

Really early.

“My coach told me to try and go as hard as I could off the start and work on that because it’s kind of my weakest link,” said 2023 Eagle Valley High School graduate Landen Stovall, the winner of the men’s 12.6-kilometer pro/open division in a time of 45 minutes, 18 seconds. The teenager burst off the line to create a sizable early advantage on the 10-man field, which included former World Cup pro Christopher Baddick and XTERRA veterans Josiah Middaugh and James Kirschner.

“Landon is just so much more snappy than I am, so he started really hard, which is good practice for him. I’m more of a diesel,” smiled Middaugh, a worthy local endurance-sport veteran representative if there ever was one. The 44-year-old 15-time U.S. XTERRA champion, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the XTERRA Oak Mountain World Cup on May 20, warmed up the engine in time to spend most of his afternoon reeling Stovall back in while rainclouds held off. His main problem: the Bear National Team youngster was descending his backyard trails like he didn’t have a dime in his Trek Supercaliber.

“It was fun,” Stovall said. “I live here, so I could race this course blind.” 

Support Local Journalism

“I could ride with him for awhile, but he’s technically a little better than me,” Middaugh said of the downhills, where Stovall pulled away and created a 40-second gap before the final climb up Turniphead to the finish.

Athletes congregate at the starting line of the 12.6-kilometer pro/open race.
Joe Hess/Courtesy photo

“I knew I had to get a gap on him before the Wall/Riddle loop, and I got a gap on him on the downhill and held it just all the way through to the end,” Stovall said.

Middaugh — who, to his credit, may have had some heavy legs after dashing around an 86-mile version of the Copper Triangle in four hours on Sunday (which, amazingly, is about 30 minutes slower than his all-time best on the famous local loop) finished in 46-minutes flat, with Baddick (48:39) rounding out the podium just in front of Aiden Brown (49:01).

Want the news to come to you? Get the top stories in your inbox every morning. Sign up here:

“It’s cool seeing these kids grow up and kick my butt — that’s all I can say about that,” said Middaugh, who leaves for the Belgium XTERRA World Cup in a couple days. He said it’s possible he’ll be back for the Davos Dash on June 14. In last year’s rendition of the oldest annually held mountain bike race in the state, Stovall earned a four-second win over Middaugh, the course record holder.

There were other battles across all divisions Wednesday night, even without the kids’ races, which were canceled because of weather. Bobby Brown snuck in front of Paul Datsko by two seconds to win the veteran sport and Charlie Brown and Paul Stedman came across the line in photo-finish-fashion for first and second, respectively, in the grand master sport (age 60 and over) category.

A group of three cyclists push each other while competing in the Eagle Ranch Classic in Eagle on Wednesday night.
Joe Hess/Courtesy photo

Call it youth, call it a big jump in training and racing, but Stovall’s only complaint was that all the fun ended too soon.

“I kind of wish it was longer. I feel like I could have done another lap,” he said, adding that his physiological growth since joining the Bear National Team has been exponential.

“Oh for sure. I’ve kind of just ramped everything up with the team and everything.”

Stovall has raced in Puerto Rico, California and Arkansas already and heads to Missoula, Montana for the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour stop on June 9-11. He’ll be in Utah for the SoHo Bike Fest at the end of the month before hopefully reaching his peak at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania for the U.S. nationals July 5-9.  

“The big goal is nationals,” said Stovall, who admitted it’s title or bust in his final year in the 17-18-year-old age group.

“Next year I move up to the big-boy leagues.”

If Wednesday’s win is any indication, he’ll have no problem taking on the older competition.

Eagle Ranch Classic men’s results

Beginner (7 miles)

Tucker Moore 0:34:56
Jack Milne 0:35:23
Tyler Moore 0:36:28
Ethan Current 0:37:27
Kirk Blackmon 0:40:20
Rob Shearon 0:42:44
James Broussard 0:46:32
Allan Cyr 0:46:42
Seth Weinberger 0:48:20

Clydesdayle (200+, 10.7 miles)

Chris Lindley 0:58:00
Brent Mueller 1:01:01
David Hawkins 1:04:26

Sport (10.7 miles)

Ethan Cline 0:45:23
Freedom Bennett 0:47:15
Nolan Sawtelle 0:48:40
Avery Smith 0:48:49
Jeff Dirks 0:49:01
Jack Sargent 0:50:32
Owen Razee 0:51:22
Brody Cyr 0:51:26
Clayton Davis 0:53:31
Silas Lovgren 0:53:48
Brian Pearson 0:53:49
Casey Childers 0:54:28
Miles Gentry 0:55:01
Jackson Pacocha 0:57:20
Tommy Engels 0:57:24
Jackson Pundt 0:58:39
Jesse Kuhn 0:58:58
Emmett Covello 1:00:37
Sean Coleman 1:01:12
Trevan Baker 1:05:13
Mitch Goodnight 1:06:22

Veteran Sport (ages 35-49, 10.7 miles)

Bobby Brown 0:49:46
Paul Datsko 0:49:48
Chris Gleeson 0:50:23
Jason Rosener 0:50:40
Sean Molloy 0:53:33
Bryan Fitzgerald 0:54:23
Ben Hardmeyer 0:54:23
Lukas Rhoads 0:54:24
Keith Klesner 0:54:43
Kevin Haas 0:55:12
Kevin Stephens 0:56:54
Brian Burke 0:59:11
Travis Cox 1:01:54
Garrett Lodewyck 1:04:15
Joe Shankland 1:06:13
Jeff Christiansen 1:10:27

Master Sport (ages 50 and up, 10.7 miles)

Michael Beacon 0:48:10
Matt Johnson 0:51:26
Chip Craft 0:55:17
Craig Lathram 0:56:21
Peter Kan 0:57:30
David LaGrange 0:57:30
Troy Lange 1:00:31
Greg Eby 1:01:54
James Carullo 1:02:54
Tim Walters 1:03:02

Grand Master Sport (60 and up, 10.7 miles)

Charles Brown 0:53:51
Paul Stedman 0:53:51
Andrew Dobrot 0:59:29
Rob Balgey 1:00:43
Phillipe Courtois 1:02:06

Expert (12.6 miles)

David Sanders 0:51:44
Weston Sawtelle 0:52:42
Eric Asselin 0:53:24
Josiah Horning 0:53:24
Andrew Lombardi 0:53:38
Marshall Troutner 0:53:55
Matas Katieb 0:54:09
Nash Lucas 0:55:22
Justin Brouse 1:06:40

Veteran Expert (ages 35-49, 12.6 miles)

Michael Dorr 0:52:27
Brett Donelson 0:52:40
Dan Weiland 0:55:39
Michael Sherven 0:55:50
Matt Razo 0:56:19
Ryan Simmons 0:56:57
Freddy Mooney 0:57:18
Michael Glass 0:58:27
Matthew Pacocha 0:58:43
Doug Jimenez 0:59:37
Kyle Wilcox 1:01:07
Russell White 1:03:40

Master Expert (ages 50 and up, 12.6 miles)

Jason Russell 0:53:26
Robert Moehring 0:53:34
Sylvan Kaufman 0:54:33
Charlie Knoll 0:54:49
Stephen Elzinga 0:56:31
Matt Donovan 0:57:31
Mike Trueblood 0:57:56
Noel Reuter 0:58:27
Jay Sapp 1:03:02
Peter Geyer 1:10:49

Grand Master Expert (60 and over, 12.6 miles)

Ron Gruber 57:28

Single Speed (12.6 miles)

Mark Nesline 0:56:43
Marty Golembiewski 1:01:52
BJ Psenda 1:03:21

Pro/Open (12.6 miles)

Landen Stovall 0:45:18
Josiah Middaugh 0:46:00
Christopher Baddick 0:48:39
Aiden Brown 0:49:01
James Kirschner 0:50:32
Brandon Hanson 0:51:04
Alex Schultz 0:51:55
Reiner Schmidt 0:51:55
Garret Moehring 0:52:10
Jonathan Modig 0:52:42

Support Local Journalism