Breck neighbors Herwig, Shelden win Summit Adventure
FRISCO – Proving that the neighborly bond can be a winning one, Breckenridge residents Gordon Herwig and Kevin Shelden cruised to the top overall spot among 19 teams in Saturday’s inaugural Salomon Summit Adventure.The race, which existed for five years as the Kokopelli Adventure and took place in Grand Junction, tested competitors over three disciplines: a 2.5-mile canoe on Lake Dillon, a 20-mile mountain bike ride from Frisco to Breck and back, and an eight-mile run on the Frisco peninsula trails. It finished at the town of Frisco recreation building.Coming off their second-place finish in the Vail AdventureXstream race, Shelden and Herwig found the triumphant feeling by 49 seconds over the professional trio from Team SALOMON, winning in 3 hours, 38 minutes, 6 seconds. Still, along the way they discovered that leading – instead of chasing – is a whole new world.”Totally,” Shelden said. “You’re always looking back over your shoulder and you’re having to set the pace, instead of going to try to catch somebody.”
With his partner leading the way, Herwig said his role was a little bit easier. “I just try to work to keep up with Mr. Shelden here,” he said, smiling.The 40-something duo continued to improve from the beginning of the season to now. They fared pretty well at a race in Durango, “got shelled” in the prestigious Beaver Creek race, in the words of Shelden, and have broken new ground in their past two events.”We’re getting it down,” Shelden said after Saturday’s race, wearing some dried blood on his elbow from a crash on the Peaks Trail. “This was the first one where everything kind of clicked. No mistakes, no mechanical issues. We’ve had some crisis arise in all the other races we’ve done.”Saturday’s race was inviting because of its relatively short distance, compared to some other adventure races, and because of its straightforward route.
“It was a very effective introductory adventure race course, but still challenging for us and for everyone else,” said Boulder’s Adam Chase, the most experienced racer in the field. Chase, a professional, has competed in the world championship before, and enters about 20 races per year. He took first in the three-person coed team category on Saturday, along with SALOMON teammates Andrew Hamilton and Louisa Jenkins.Mark Williams, who drove four hours from his home in Rawlins, Wyo., to compete on Saturday, won the men’s solo division and has been adventure racing for five years. But the Bureau of Land Management fire ecologist ran into trouble on the homestretch.”I felt pretty good until about four miles into the run,” he said. “I started getting a little dehydrated, throwing up. Had to just take it easy for a second and suck down a bunch of electrolyte tablets and take down a bunch of water. After about five minutes, I was good to go.”Solo racing has its advantages (you control your own destiny), but as the husband-wife duo of Marcia and John Van Eden proved, so does two-person racing.
The Loveland couple used a “tow system” – which is basically a rope attached to both racers. The thinking behind it, Marcia said, is to “equalize our heart rates and equalize our effort. … It quickens our team, slows him down and speeds me up.”The Van Edens finished second in the two-person coed division behind “The Monsters.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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