Switchbacks surprise at Berry Creek Bash in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Switchbacks surprise at Berry Creek Bash in Edwards

VRD Berry Creek Bash PU 6-13-07
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EDWARDS, Colorado – As riders coasted into E|town after Wednesday’s Berry Creek Bash, their conversation had a familiar theme.

The new switchbacks.

The Berry Creek Bash race route is one well-traveled. Most newcomers to the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Rice Series know the track. So it was a bit of a surprise when Vail Recreation District organizers threw in a few new turns just to shake things up a bit.

And so racers of all abilities and forms compared notes on their tumbles in these turns, but they can take comfort that even the best fell victim.

“I know this course pretty darn well and when we got to the switchbacks, I didn’t realize that they changed it up a little bit,” said Gretchen Reeves, who won the women’s pro division Wednesday. “I was out of control on the first lap and I ended up crashing and twisting my knee up. I said, ‘Maybe in the next lap, I’m going to take it a bit easier.'”

For pros like Reeves, the Wednesday races in the summer are a good opportunity to pick up a check as well as get some training. Reeves, Jay Henry, who won men’s pro Wednesday, and racing regular Mike Kloser had just returned from winning a two-day endurance race in Bayview, Idaho, last weekend.

And that was just a part of the marathon run Reeves has been doing recently. The Avon resident competed in the Teva Mountain Games mountain challenge two weekends ago, then moved, then was up in Idaho and finally winning Wednesday’s bike race.

“I would actually to prefer to have a little more space between races like that,” Reeves said. “It doesn’t always work out that way with the schedule. You just go and do it, I went there with Jay and Mike, and we won. You figure, ‘Do the best you can.’

“In one sense it’s hard to switch from going at a 12-hour pace to a one-hour pace. The pace is much harder. But these races are awesome training for that reason. All the pros do them because they’re fun and they’re awesome training.”

And if you’re wondering, next up for Reeves is FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) in Salida this weekend.

Fan club and a birthday

Vail’s Ben Dale likely achieved two firsts on Wednesday. He won the men’s sport division for the first time. And he did so with a fan club.

His buddies showed up at the race and the post-party with “Way 2 Go, Ben” signs.

“When they showed up with their signs I was shocked and appalled,” Dale joked. “It was pretty embarrassing.”

What are friends for, Ben, if not to mortify you?

Singlespeed racer Courtney Gregory had plenty of friends Wednesday. It was his 32nd birthday, and he won his division.

“It’s pretty radical. The Wild Turkey helped a little bit. … Gregory said. “They don’t test in single speed racers. You can be hopped up a little bit. It’s not a performance-enhancer.”

Vail’s Lindsey Griffin aced the women’s beginner category.

“Definitely surprised,” she said. “It was hard. The climb was hard and the downhill was even harder because they changed the course on Sunday and it was super-sandy. I think there was a lot of carnage. It’s a good workout and I’m just trying to have fun, more or less.”

Following up from last week’s Eagle Classic, the VRD’s Beth Pappas presented men’s masters/beginner (more of the latter) Dudley Duel with a bottle of wine as a “good sport” award after he was mistakenly given the men’s masters title last week. Duel graciously accepted and was happy to be in the more compatible men’s beginner category this week.

Peter Davis, with no competition from the ever-mysterious Duel, won his second consecutive men’s masters race.

Next up in the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series is the rescheduled Hammer in the Hay at 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott on June 29. Because of the postpostment of the race from May, racing is on a Monday.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Berry Creek Bash winners

Men’s pro – Jay Henry

Women’s pro – Gretchen Reeves

Men’s expert – Conor Wallace

Women’s expert – Julie Myers

Men’s vet expert – Adam Plummer

Singlespeed – Courtney Gregory

Men’s masters – Peter Davis

Women’s vet expert – Ann Kries

Clyesdales – Mark Beresniewocz

Men’s vet sport – Matt Johnson

Men’s sport – Ben Dale

Women’s sport – Cait Boyd

Men’s beginner – Brinton Barry

Women’s beginner – Lindsey Griffin

Junior – Parker McDonald