Vail Teva Games: Basagoitia survives for freeride title
VAIL, Colorado – For 11-second intervals, friendships ceased to exist on the freeride-biking course Saturday at the Teva Mountain Games.
“Everybody’s friends, so everybody’s psyched to race each other. But when you get in the gate, it’s attack mode,” said Aaron Chase of Lakewood, N.J. “Me and Jamie (Goldman) weren’t friends for 10 seconds. For 11 seconds, no longer friends.”
After 10 or 11 ticks, Chase edged out Goldman (Santa Cruz, Calif.) for third. Meanwhile, Paul Basagoitia squeaked by Cameron Zink in the Battle of Nevada, also known as the championship race by a combine time of three-tenths of second for the win.
“It’s an honor. I’ve been training all year,” said Basagoitia, who lives in Minden, Nev. “I’m just glad it paid off. Cameron lives actually in the next town over from me.”
Zink is from in Reno, Nev., and the two had actually trained together with Zinc introducing Basagoitia to freeriding.
“He had me from the start and it was just a couple of feet the whole race,” Zink said.
While the new feature – the Z-shaped blocks at the beginning of the course – were expected to cause some problems, the trouble came from some familiar old obstacles, the step-up, step-down in the middle of the track and the run-ending hump.
After a quiet first run, step-up took out Petr Hanak, allowing Chase to qualify for the semifinals. In those semifinals, Goldman, the top seed in the bracket, wiped out in the same place against Basagoitia. Though he knew he had a sizable lead, Basagoitia barely got over the hump and the finish line in a true survival test.
Goldman’s travails continued in the third-place race against Chase when his bike seat slipped out from underneath him before the hump. Goldman’s bike made it over the hump, but Goldman did not, giving Chase third place.
“I tried to ghost ride my bike at him,” Goldman joked. “I don’t know if you guys saw that. (Chase) was in front of me so I just tried to take him out. I saw in the earlier rounds, he took out his opponent and he just ran off. So I was like, ‘I’m going to do that to him.’ It’s good for the crowd to see some action like that. So I thought since I was losing anyway that I just should send it.”
In the finals, there was no bike-tossing, as Basagoitia edged out Zink by 15-hundreds of a second in each of the two races for the $1,000 winner’s check.
“The (step-up) box, I feel I had it pretty dialed in all day,” Basagoitia said. “It just worked out for me. I wasn’t really paying attention to anyone else. I was just doing my own thing. Go as fast as you can, regardless of what the other guy is doing.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.