Summer begins with the Battle at Bellyache |

Summer begins with the Battle at Bellyache

Samantha Lathram competes in the Battle at Bellyache through the Vail Recreation District on Wednesday, May 30, in Eagle. The weekly mountain bike race series takes place for eight Wednesdays.
Chris Dillmann |

EAGLE — And they’re off.

The Vail Recreation District Westin Athletic Club Mountain Bike Series kicked off its 35th season on Wednesday, May 30 with the Battle at Bellyache.

While the seriously is jokingly referred to as World Cup Wednesday or the Tour de Wednesday, as a few do takes these races as if they were the Tour de France, it’s, by and large, a chance for riders for to engage in some friendly competition, followed by swapping stories over some suds at the post-race party.

Fresh start

For some, the series’ opener is the introduction to racing. Glenwood Springs’ Brittany Spangler was competing in a race for the first time, and, in the women’s sport division no less.

“If I’m being perfectly honest, I was pretty nervous,” Spangler said. “It’s pretty awesome because I’ve been riding with the Sacred Cycle (team), so that was motivation for me.”

And as any rider in this series will tell you, everyone eventually takes a tumble, and Spangler, who was sporting a bump on her right knee, was no exception.

“I actually flipped over my handlebars,” she said. “I was asking myself if everything was still together.”

Everything still is in one piece and Spangler ended up enjoying her debut.

The series is nothing new for Avon’s Beth Bush. This is her fifth year in the Wednesday races. She wasn’t particularly happy with her result, but she has a different approach to the race.

“Personally, for me, I like the longer kind of races, so this is a little short,” Bush said of the 12 miles or so on Wednesday. “I kind of take these races as really hard training runs.”

Bush is actually gearing up for the Carson City Offroad in Nevada in a few weeks. Said race is 35 miles.

Good grief

Eagle’s Charlie Brown has heard all the lines about his name. No one named Lucy pulled the football away from him on Wednesday.

As the co-owner of Eagle branch of Mountain Pedaler, Wednesday’s race was a home race.

“I’m fairly familiar with the trail,” he joked. “It was hot, dusty and there was a lot of carnage, a lot of legs getting ripped off. No bloody stumps, which is good.”

The next stop in the series is an early than usual stop at the Davos Dash on June 13. The short, but seriously uphill annual race is dreaded/enjoyed by most of the riders, usually enjoyed by riders after oxygen returns to their bodies.

“Not real excited about being there in the second race,” Brown joked.

“That’s when I’m going to Nevada,” Bush said without a trace of regret in her voice.

Unofficial division winners

Note: Official results will be in Friday, June 1’s edition of the Vail Daily.

Men’s beginner: Ian Rogers

Women’s beginner: Izzy Sargent

Men’s grandmaster 50-plus: Chip Craft

Men’s super grandmaster 60-plus: Dawes Wilson

Women’s vet sport: Jessica Bechard

Women’s masters sport 40-plus: Terry Stimac

Men’s vet sport 30-plus : Drew Knerl

Men’s masters sport 40-plus: Douglas Jimenez

Men’s sport: Nash Lucas

Women’s sport: Taylee Smith

Men’s singlespeed: Ciro Zirate

Women’s singlespeed: Laura Seelig

Men’s clydesdale: Robert Moehring

Men’s expert: David Sanders-Kulesza

Women’s expert: Janel Klug

Men’s vet expert 30-plus: Shaun Martin

Women’s vet expert 30-plus: Kari Bangston

Men’s masters expert 40-plus: Brian Baker

Women’s masters expert 40-plus: Jenifer Razee

Men’s grandmaster expert 50-plus: Mark Roebke

Men’s pro: Salem Elson

Women’s pro: Karen Kerkove

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