Vail bike series hits quarter-century mark |

Vail bike series hits quarter-century mark

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoMountain bikers will kick off the Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Series Wednesday with the Eagle Classic

How old is Vail’s Davos Dash mountain bike race?

Well, Sen. John McCain still had training wheels on his bike when racers competed in the inaugural Dash.

So maybe the Davos Dash isn’t that old, but in the world of mountain biking, any 25th anniversary race is ancient.

“I didn’t know mountain biking has been around that long,” said Gretchen Reeves.

This year’s Davos Dash (where bikes will have shocks and other crazy amenities) will be one of six races in the 2008 Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series. The series, put on by the Vail Recreation District, kicks off today with the Eagle Classic (Little League starts at 5 p.m., adults start at 5:30 p.m.)

“Eagle is becoming such a big mountain biking area in the valley ” I think it’s great they are having the race there again,” said Jay Henry. “And this year, it’s just about the only place that’s dry around here.”

Unlike in years past, today’s race will be on just dirt, and won’t weave through pavement.

“This will probably be the easiest course (in the series),” said the Vail Recreation District’s Brian Doyon.

While the series provides a good mix of terrain, it also boasts a wide array of competition, with categories for top-level professionals, like Henry and Reeves, all the way to those for beginners.

“I encourage people that are just starting or considering racing to come out,” Reeves said. “It’s fun, people are really nice and it’s a great introduction to racing. Also, you can meet people you might want to ride with.”

The second race of the year (June 18th), formerly the Berry Creek Bash, will be known as the Mike Janelle Memorial this year; Janelle was a prominent local racer who passed away this past winter. Each year, the series will name a race in honor of Janelle.

“Starting to race again without Mike has been a lot different this year,” Henry said. “Those of us who knew him well and rode with him ” I don’t think we do any race that’s not a in memory of Mike. I think it’s awesome they’ll name a race after him each year. I think Mike would appreciate it a lot.”

On June 25th, at the Davos Dash, Henry hopes to make some history and break the race record, which he set last year (16 minutes, 46 seconds).

“I think there’s room for it to be broken,” said Henry, who will be racing at Davos for the 20th time. “The conditions have to be good, and whether I do it or someone else, there’s room to do it. I think someone can get under 16:30.”

Two week after the Davos Dash, the series moves to Camp Hale, for what will be the last hurrah.

“They are changing it to a historical preservation (site),” Doyon said. “It should be fun ” we still have to work out our liquor license.”

As much as the series is about racing, it’s also about the social scene.

“The post-race parties are such a great time,” Henry said.

“It’s not just good competition and training, but just really fun. It gets kids out, veterans, master ” everyone,” Reeves said.

As in years past, the series is on opposite weeks of the Summit County series, allowing riders from both counties to head over Vail Pass all summer to compete.

The Vail Grind will be on July 23, while the series closes out Aug. 6 with the Beaver Creek Blast. After the final race, there will be a drawing for three carbon frames from Rocky Mountain Bicycles.

You can register for the series, or individual races, and register on the day of all events. For the Eagle Classic, registration will run from 4 to 5 p.m.

Registration, course information and start times are available at For more information on the race series and other VRD sports, call 479-2280.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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