In the midst of so much uncertainty, many local sports have been forced to delay the start of their season or remain unplayed until further notice. But that is not the case for the mountain biking community whose solitary nature has allowed young athletes to remain competitive and outdoors for most of the summer season. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) athletes – under the tutelage of Dan Weiland, the Nordic and Cycling Program Director at SSCV – have capitalized on the necessity of social distance (and masks where social distancing cannot be accomplished) to hone their skills out on the trails and have consistently done well in the Vail Recreation District’s Mountain Bike Town Series as a result. Weiland shared, “Fortunately we have been able to compete in the town series events which have drawn some of the best mountain bike racers in the country! It has been great to have a race series here in the county that has been so well attended and very well run – big thanks to the Vail Recreation District. “
Camp Hale Hup, August 11 & 12
Weiland isn’t joking about these races being extremely competitive and well attended: over one hundred athletes came from far and wide to put their skills to the test at Vail Recreation’s most recent competition, the Camp Hale Hup, on August 11 and 12. Despite the stiff competition, local athletes shined in both the youth and adult races. In the sport boys race for 11-14 year olds, SSCV’s Brady McBride led the charge down the 6.6-mile-long course to come in 1st overall, followed shortly by teammate Brendan O’Donnell in 2nd. The next day saw SSCV’s Reiner Schmidt, Vlad Shambarger, Cole Flashner, and Ben Suttor take 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Shambarger, Flashner, and Suttor went head-to-head over 11 miles with only one second separating each of their final times in the men’s sport race. In the men’s expert race later that day, SSCV’s Landen Stovall crossed the finish line .26 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, securing him the top spot on the podium. Teammate Garrett Moehring finished shortly after Stovall, landing him in 3rd. On the women’s side, Bayli McSpadden participated in the arduous 22-mile-long pro elite race with enthusiasm, and ended the day with a 5th place finish.
Eagle Ranch Classic, June 30 & July 1
The Mountain Bike Town Series began early this summer with the Eagle Ranch Classic that took place over the weekend of June 30. Over two days of competition, new and experienced riders battled it out on three different circuits. In the 11-14 beginner age group, Jolene Edelmann and Mari Renick took 1st and 2nd respectively for the girls, while Brendan O’Donnell and Brady McBride scored 1st and 5th on Eagle Ranch’s 3.5 mile Short Loop. The sports boys race saw Alex Current complete two quick laps around the Short Loop to ultimately land a second-place spot on the podium. At the end of the first day, SSCV’s Molly Roberts came out on top for the women’s beginner race with a 5-minute lead over her competitors, while teammates Andrew Lombardi and Tyler Hopkins finished just seconds off of the men’s beginner first-place finisher.
The second day marked the start of the Sport, Expert, and Pro races. In the men’s sport division, SSCV’s Cole Flashner came in 2nd with a time of 44 minutes and 42 seconds. He was followed shortly by teammates Jack Diemar in 4th and Izzat Katieb in 5th. On the women’s side, Izzy Glackin’s speedy run down the course put her in 5th in a field of 18 other athletes. Landen Stovall crossed the finish line just 8 seconds off of the first-place finisher in the men’s expert race, and teammate Garrett Moehring finished close behind to grab 3rd. SSCV’s Tianna Bruce and Sarah Bivens also came in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the women’s expert race.
Berry Creek Bash, July 7 & 8
The Vail Recreation District’s Mountain Bike Town Series continued the next week with the Berry Creek Bash in Edwards. In the beginner girls 11-14 age class, Marie Renick continued the success she had the week prior, finishing in 2nd place and beating out 17 others to finish line on the 2 mile short loop. SSCV boys’ Ollie Kullberger and Enzo Napoli also did well in the beginner 11-14 age group, with Kullberger scoring the first-place spot only one second ahead of Napoli. Teammate Andrew Forstl took to the 3.6-mile-long loop in the sport boys race and came in 4th overall. Tyler Hopkins and Andrew Lombardi saw a near repeat of the race from the week prior, though this time Hopkins pedaled into 2nd and Lombardi ended up in 3rd.
The second day of the Berry Creek Bash kicked off with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s 14-year-old Reiner Schmidt speeding through the difficult terrain to finish 4th in the men’s sport race. In the women’s sport race, Izzy Glackin remained loose and steady, taking 5th once again. The stakes were high in the men’s and women’s expert races, which had male competitors battling it out for the fastest times on a 10.8-mile-long track, and females over the course of 9.2 miles. After an hour of racing over rapidly changing terrain, SSCV’s Landen Stovall took home a bronze medal. Teammate Garrett Moehring trailed a little over a minute behind Stovall, securing him a 5th place spot on the men’s side. In the women’s expert race, Tianna Bruce soared through the course, taking 3rd and claiming a position on the podium for the second week in a row.
Lost Lake, July 29
The next most recent event in the Mountain Bike Town Series was the Lost Lake race that took place on July 29. A difficult race open only to adults, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes competed in the men and women’s beginner, sport, and expert classes. In the men’s beginner race, Andrew Lombardi flew through the course, finishing the 6.6-mile short course in 42 minutes and 30 seconds. Brady McBride lagged slightly behind Lombardi but ended the day in 5th place. Reiner Schmidt once again competed in the men’s sport class and finished the 10.8 mile medium course in 1 hour and 9 minutes, beating out 8 others to secure him a bronze medal. In the women’s sport race, Izzy Glackin came in 3rd and teammate Avery Forstl took 4th. Landen Stovall continued to focus on speed and control in the third race of the series, and he finished in 4th for the men’s expert class followed by SSCV’s Cole Weathers in 5th.
Weiland concluded, “Our athletes are in the best shape I have ever seen them in-they can’t stop and socialize. It is all business-but fun business. And the athletes are seeing the benefits of the discipline demanded by COVID19.”
Many thanks go out to SSCV Cycling Team’s sponsors to date this season-Alpine Bank, Kind Bikes and Skis, Sawatch Automotive and Vail Summit Orthopaedics for helping to make this season possible. For a full list of results, please refer to https://www.vailrec.com/.