Valley locals shine at 24 hours of Moab
That’s how much longer than expected Eagle’s Jimi Mortenson had to wait for his Specialized teammate Jay Henry, of Avon, to complete his first lap last Saturday at the Ninth Annual Honda 24 hours of Moab, one of mountain biking’s most renowned relay races.
“Jay’s been doing that race for so long- five, six, seven years- and he’s always under an hour, every year for his first lap,” said Mortenson. “This was his first time doing the first lap, but still, he’d be under an hour, because last year, I did the first lap and I was under an hour. I just knew Jay should be there at like 59 something, and 59 went by. Then, 1:01 went by and I was like, “We’ve got problems.’ Then 1:05. Then Jay finally comes in at 1:13.”
Turns out, Henry broke his chain within the first five minutes of racing, a less-than-ideal beginning for Team Specialized. Both Henry and Mortenson know though, that it’s not how you start, but how you finish- and finish they did as Mortenson, Henry and female teammates Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs) and Susy Pryde (Auckland, New Zealand) blazed the fastest overall time of the 24-hour, 17 class event, finishing 20 laps in 14 hours, 26 minutes and 27 seconds to win the Coed Pro/Am competition.
It was an impressive weekend overall for the Vail Valley cycling community.
Edwards locals Amy Hermes and Julie Morrow of Team High Maintenance finished first in the Women’s Expert Division, along with teammates India Wysong (Hailey, Idaho) and Wendy Lyall (Camas, Wash.). Vail locals Nat Ross and Dawes Wilson finished third and sixth respectively, in the Men’s Solo Competition, while Kerry White of Vail finished fifth in the Women’s Solo Competition. Also, Team Pedal Power, consisting of Vail locals Bruce Kelly, Ronan Murray, John Cummins and Bill MacFarlane, finished first in the Men’s Veteran Division.
It was a great experience,” said Morrow, who rode the third spot for the High Maintenance squad. “Amy was great to do it with. She’s done it three times before, so she was very organized.”
Morrow’s team didn’t run into any serious equipment problems like Henry, but there were a few bumps along the way.
“India totally bonked on her night lap and was searching the ground for food in the middle of her ride, and it took her a long time,” said Morrow. “She was really dizzy, and then she had to go back out and ride out again. She also had another lap where she fell and landed on her cheekbone, and that kind of freaked her out a little bit. Amy had a couple falls, but they weren’t real serious. She did fall once and break both of her lights, but she was able to fix them.”
In the Mens Solo Competition, Nat Ross fought off a bloody nose and mean headache for his third-place finish.
“I was hoping to get a bit higher, but i had a really tough day,” said Ross. “I missed a feed and went for a lap without water, which is a little over an hour. That didn’t do me any justice at all. I had to lose a little bit of contact and slow down.”
Two other notable Vail Locals, Adam Palmer and Mike Janelle, raced in the Men’s Solo Competition, but did not finish the race. Janelle completed seven laps but was taken to the hospital after crashing during the night and badly bruising his hip. Palmer withdrew after six laps because of a bad knee.
Wilson, who finished sixth, hadn’t returned to Vail as of press time, but did have this to say in his rider profile on the Moab race website, grannygear.com: “My next sponsorship will be AARP, I turned fifty this year.”
To go along with his Specialized team pedaling the fastest overall time of the event, Mortenson also ran the fastest individual lap at 59:32, his first time out on the course.
“When Jay did come in, we were like 13 minutes off pace. I was just kind of like, “Sweet, this is exactly what I needed to literally go hard. This is great motivation,'” said Mortenson. “I just went for it, and that turned out to be the fastest lap of the race. So it was great. On that lap, I made up five or six minutes. It was just smooth sailing from there.”
Added Henry, in regards to his freak equipment problem in the early goings of his ride, “I knew it was a long race, and that at some point, the other teams, would have mechanical problems too. If you do that race without any mechanical problems, you are definitely lucky.”
For all race results, go to grannygear.com.
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.