Vail Valley biking: ‘Everyone’s here’ for Berry Creek Bash
EDWARDS – It was a Wednesday, and so it was the usual.
Cyclists pedaled in from all over the Berry Creek Trailhead, and then rode 4-14 miles for this week’s Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Series race, the Berry Creek Bash, and then gathered at E-town after to shoot the breeze.
It’s perfectly normal that 300-400 people knock off work to hit the pedals here, but it really isn’t normal for the rest of the world. What would a person who lives in one of the country’s major cities say about something like Wednesday’s Berry Creek Bash?
“They’d think we’re crazy,” women’s vet expert winner Julie Morrow.
But sanity is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s just natural that a landscaper, a guy who owns a water-treatment company, a paramedic and restaurant/Nordic Center operator show up to ride every other Wednesday.
“It’s everyone from our vet to our builders to our loan managers at the bank,” Edwards’ Kevin Douglas said. “Everyone’s here.”
Douglas topped the men’s sport division, which is nice. But it’s sort of a secondary thing to the main purpose of the series.
“The races are incredibly fun. Everybody comes out,” said Douglas who runs a landscaping company down in Eagle. “You get to see people you haven’t seen in while. It gives you something to look forward to. It’s great for the family to come out watch.”
Douglas was well-supported in the family department. His wife, McKenna, mother-in-law, Karen Berlanti, and children Maizy, 3, and Mack, 1 1/2, were cheering loudly when his name was announced during the awards ceremony.
OK, minor clarification. Mack maybe wasn’t so interested by Dad’s accomplishments. He seemed much more amused with playing with a balloon with Grandma. To each his own on Wednesday.
Roxanne Hall of Leadville owns the Tennesse Pass Nordic Center and operates the accompanying restaurant with her husband. The Berry Creek Bash was one of those days where she wasn’t feeling in peak form. But she raced and ended up second in women’s vet expert.
“It’s sheer excitement because you’re around so many people. People are very competitive, but it’s fun as well,” she said. “It’s something we do in the mountains.”
Peter Davis of Eagle is no stranger to this series. The defending masters champ from last year, he notched his first win of the year in masters expert Wednesday. Winning is better than losing obviously, but the series for him allows him to keep riding and competing.
“I used to race on the weekends. Every weekend I was racing,” said Davis, who runs a water-purification company when not occupying the podium. “I was gone and traveling. Now it’s local. I don’t have to travel very far and I can spend the weekend’s with my family.”
Davis thinks he knows most of the competitors in the series by this point.
While Davis has been racing for 10 years, Lauren Egan of Eagle Vail, in just her second year, says she meets up with five new fellow competitors each race. The paramedic topped all comers for the first time in the women’s beginner category.
“I definitely look forward to it, but it’s hard and it definitely hurts some times,” she said. “Even though it’s some times hard to get excited for it. I always come out for it.”
And the race that make her the sorest? The Davos Dash, which is next up in the series on July 7 … on a Wednesday, naturally.
Jay Henry and Gretchen Reeves won their pro divisions. … Junior Quinton Cook is 3-for-3 this year. … Karen Jarchow of Edwards is definitely having a good year. She won women’s sport in both the Hammer in the Hay and the Eagle Classic. That earned her a promotion to the expert division, where she finished second Wednesday. She also won the big prize in the evening’s raffle – the Street Swell long board. … The series takes an extra week off because of the Fourth of July week. The Davos Dash record is 16 minutes, 45 seconds, held by Jay what’s-his-name.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Men’s sport: Peter Hinman
Men’s master sport: Scott Leslie
Women’s sport: Tara Pickio
Men’s vet sport: Kevin Douglas
Clydesdales: Jeff Lifgren
Women’s vet sport: Paisley Frischholz
Men’s beginner: Matt Jones
Women’s beginner: Lauren Egan
Junior: Quinton Cook
Men’s pro: Jay Henry
Women’s pro: Gretchen Reeves
Men’s expert: Jerry Oliver
Women’s expert: Tamara Donelson
Men’s vet expert: Adam Plummer
Men’s masters expert: Peter Davis
Men’s singlespeed: Mike Skellion
Women’s singlespeed: Amy Hermes
Women’s vet expert: Julie Morrow