Vail’s Kloser considering retirement
BEAVER CREEK – Jay Henry out-dueled Jake Wells for the men’s pro title in Wednesday’s Beaver Creek Blast, the finale of the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Series.
Dusty Boot/Mountain Pedaler won the team competition for the season and, by the way, Mike Kloser retired from the series, and may be hanging up adventure racing for good after the World Championships in Spain Sept. 30-Oct.9.
Before that, he, Henry, Dan Weiland and Gretchen Reeves are going to Wulong, China, for another adventure race.
“These two upcoming races will potentially be my last,” Kloser said during the post-race party at the Coyote Cafe in Beaver Creek. “If we win the worlds, you can pretty much guarantee that. Unless the Eco-Challenge or something of that caliber comes back, you’ve probably seen the last of my adventure racing days.”
Kloser, 50, is not exactly ready for a rocking chair, Social Security and mushed-up corn, although the organizers of the Vail-Beaver Creek Series did give him the Old Fart Award, complete with a bottle of Geritol, Wednesday.
He was fourth in Wednesday’s pro division behind the Js – Jay Henry, Jake Wells and Josiah Middaugh. Just last weekend, he set a record in the 50-plus division at the Pikes Peak Ascent.
But if he were to win Worlds this fall – he has five titles in the bank already – it would mark the end of a storied outdoor sports career. In addition to five world titles in adventure races, he’s won the Eco-Challenge three times, holds five Primal Quest crowns, won national winter national triathlon championships in 2007 and 2008, among other honors.
There’s also the fact that he started in mountain biking, was the world champion in 1988 and is enshrined in the sport’s Hall of Fame in Crested Butte. It’s usually easier listing what Kloser hasn’t won.
“I think it’s time to give a little more attention to my family. It’s a big point in their careers, particularly Heidi with her making the World Cup team. I’ve had a lot of great years with them supporting me, and now I think it’s time that I reverse the roles a little bit.”
His daughter, Heidi, is on the U.S. World Cup Moguls Team. His son, Christian, is a burgeoning endurance athlete with an eye toward the Nordic biathlon. The Kloser kids come by it honestly – and not just through Dad. Emily Kloser, with whom Mike will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this fall, also has won the Trans Rockies Run.
“I think it’s a good point in my life,” Mike said. “I’m starting a new business on my own, Out There U.S.A., so I need to be focusing attention toward that, and I have my job with Vail Resorts at Beaver Creek. All these things are kind of stacking up. I thought, ‘Now’s probably as good a time as any.'”
Kloser said he still intends to remain active. He’s pondering a possible TransAlp run with Henry in 2011.
“I’m really excited to be more of supporter, being there in whatever I can,” Kloser said.
“As a father, you can’t ask for anything more rewarding or fulfilling in some ways. You’re watching their dreams come true. To see that is very special. It’s also one of those things where it’s their dreams. Sure, we encourage them to be active and try things. But right now, Heidi is doing what she wants to do. I can pretty much say the same for Christian.”
Oh yea, Jay
In the meantime, Henry sealed the deal on 2010 men’s pro title. He finished in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 26 seconds, ahead of Wells (1:15.08) and Middaugh (1:16.48). Henry led by 15 points coming into the race and won the overall by 30 after the Beaver Creek Blast.
While Henry won last year’s title with a perfect 500 points – five of last year’s six races counted toward the point total – this one was just as nice.
“Josiah and Jake were with me all the time,” Henry said. “Josiah smoked us all here last year. I may have won by more points last year, but it wasn’t easy. To win one of these races in pro, no matter who you are, you have to have a good day.”
The three Js, primarily Middaugh, took it out quickly Wednesday night.
“The first climb, led by Josiah, was just insane,” Henry said. “Quite frankly, I was cross-eyed trying to hang with everybody. The three of us were going at it. I do a lot of races around the region and that pace tonight was pretty much faster than any of those races, which is awesome. It’s great training.”
Along those lines, Henry is off to China with Kloser. Middaugh will be continuing his triathlon schedule with Xterra Canada Sept. 5 with an eye toward nationals. Wells is just beginning his competitive season with cyclocross season starting next month.
Yet as good as these guys were this year, none recorded a perfect season in the Vail-Beaver Creek Series. With six out of seven races – the Boneyard Brawl was added this year – counting toward the season total, Gretchen Reeves got the maximum 600 points in women’s pro, while Quintin Cook turned the trick in juniors. Julie Morrow was a perfect 5-for-5 in women’s expert which had a quintet of competitions.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Men’s pro: Jay Henry
Women’s pro: Gretchen Reeves
Men’s expert: Conor Wallace
Women’s expert: Heather Cunningham
Men’s vet expert: Adam Plummer
Women’s vet expert: Julie Morrow
Women’s vet sport: Jen Razee
Men’s singlespeed: Mike Skellion
Men’s masters expert: Mark Nelson
Men’s masters sport: Paul Sands
Men’s sport: Brinton Barry
Women’s sport: Lindsey Hinmon
Men’s vet sport: Rob Pierangeli
Men’s beginner: Jeff Kirwood
Women’s beginner: Renae Parks
Women’s singlespeed: Amy Owens
Clydesdale: Rob Steinke
Boys junior: Quintin Cook
Girls junior: Hannah Harterbergh
Men’s pro: Henry
Women’s pro: Reeves
Men’s expert: John Klish
Women’s expert: Tamara Donelson
Men’s vet expert: Morrow
Women’s vet sport: Kara Bettis
Men’s singlespeed: Skellion
Men’s masters expert: Peter Davis
Men’s master sport: Scott Leslie
Men’s sport: Brian Reichel
Women’s sport: Hinmon
Men’s vet sport: Pierangeli
Men’s beginner: Jeff Layman
Women’s beginner: Jen Sewall
Women’s singlespeed: Owens
Clydesdales: Rob Crawford
Boys junior: Cook
Honorary season awards
(Please note that some of these are given in jest)
Best Team Uniform: Tara and Nate Picklo
Old Fart: Kloser
Loud Mouth: Larry Grossman
Overachiever: Rick Gregory
Anti-Sandbagger: Karen Jarchow
Fastest Youth Series Racer Not to Win A Race: Henry
Shiffrin’s sixth victory of the season was her 66th career win, leaving her one short of Marcel Hirscher’s tally.