Wednesday’s Davos Dash in Vail takes on greater meaning |

Wednesday’s Davos Dash in Vail takes on greater meaning

VAIL – Davos time, kids.

Wednesday’s Davos Dash, installment No. 5 of the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series, is all of 3.5 miles. The only kicker is that it’s all uphill.

As singlespeed rider Eric Hill said after last year’s race “You’ve got to keep telling yourself, … ‘It’s going to end shortly.'”

Davos is always a big race. Of all the courses in the 26-year history of the series, Davos has always been the same – uphill and excruciating. With this history, there is a record and Jay Henry holds it with a time of 16 minutes, 46 seconds, a time which still makes heads shake, in 2006.

As Henry told me after the Vail Grind nearly two weeks ago, he feels there are only so many years left in him to lower that time. This despite the fact that he is a perfect 4-for-4 in the men’s pro division this year, is cruising to the series title and is the odds-on favorite to win Wednesday.

Yet without turning this into a “TV Movie of the Week,” Davos means more this year when the kids go off at 5 p.m., followed by the adults at 5:45 p.m. by division. Davos is also the Mike Janelle Memorial named for the longtime rider who died suddenly of heart failure in November 2007.

The cycling community in Eagle County is a tight-knit one. Everyone rides hard on Wednesday evening and then gathers for some suds and stories afterwards. There are a lot of familiar faces in the post-race party roughly every other week. And local riders still feel that they are missing one of their own in Mike.

Last year, the Berry Creek Bash was designated as the Janelle Memorial and the community came out in force to raise money for Mike’s wife, Maribel, and Mike Jr. (The Vail Recreation District, which runs the series, is rotating the memorial tribute year-by-year through all the races.)

There will be a raffle again this year with lots of good stuff up for grabs at the post-party at the Sandbar. Just as important as the financial aim of Wednesday’s race is, it’s also critical to remember.

When you lose a loved one, while he or she may be physically absent, that person never leaves your life as long as you remember. I talk to my father everyday, knowing he’s with me, though he died Aug. 18, 2006.

So saddle up everyone, and think of MIke Janelle Wednesday. If anything, it will keep your mind off the seemingly endless climb of Davos and it will also help all involved continue to heal.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

Davos Dash

What: A 3.5 mile uphill mountain-bike race from the West Vail Holiday in to the radio tower. Please park in the lots near Sandbar and Safeway.

When: Wednesday, kids at 5 p.m., adults at 5:45 p.m.

Benefiting: Mike Janelle’s wife, Maribel, and young son, Mike Jr.

Want to register?: Go to

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