Tour de Trash turns into gourmet mud feast
KEYSTONE – Good things about a mountain bike race during a thunderstorm:
A) Thunderstorms bring rainbows; rainbows are pretty.
B) Rain reduces phlegm.
Bad things about a mountain bike race during a thunderstorm:
A) Thunderstorms bring lightning; lightning is scary.
B) Rain is cold.
C) Thunderstorms cause mud
Bad things about mud during a mountain bike race:
A) It makes your bike heavy.
B) It gets caked onto chainrings and makes shifting difficult.
C) It gets caked onto shoes and pedals, which makes getting back into pedals difficult.
D) It makes crashing when going around turns and sliding in general very easy.
This is to say nothing about how the 250 racers competing in Wednesday’s Summit Mountain Challenge felt about chewing on a bunch of mud from a landfill.
“We call that trail teeth,” said race organizer Mike McCormack of Maverick Sports Promotions. “It is a sanitary landfill, not a dump, which is an important distinction. I like to think that most of the mud (in people’s teeth) came from the pristine singletrack surrounding the landfill. It’s like beef jerky bakes in the sun, right? You don’t get food poisoning from eating that. So hopefully, as the garbage bakes in the sun, there’s sort of a beef jerky effect. It’s probably good for you …”
Regardless of being one of the most beautiful landfills in the country, the Summit County Landfill, where the race started and ended, was probably the last place in the county racers would have selected for mud feasting.
The sun was not doing its work during the race, which took riders through 4.1-mile loops up and over the landfill, down the fast singletrack of the Oro Grande Trail, and up and down switchbacks through the woods, before descending back into the landfill.
Valdoro Mountain Lodge rider Tim Faia won for expert men Wednesday, riding four loops in one hour, 11 minutes and 5.23 seconds. Tokyo Joe’s Hal Clark finished behind him by less than a second (1:11:05.69) and MSO-Ti Amo rider Tim Graczyk took third in 1:11:56.55.
“The mud made it slippery,” Graczyk said. “It was a little harder to pedal uphill and go downhill in control, but it affected everyone in the same way. It probably added some weight to everyone’s bike. During the part that went through the landfill, I got a piece of mud in my mouth, but I spit it out quickly.”
On the women’s side, Team Redhook’s Leah Tingley was the top finisher of the experts, completing three laps in a time of 1:03:30.76. Breckenridge Brewery-GAS rider Jari Kirkland was on her tail by less than a second, finishing in 1:03:56.48. Her teammate, Jean Coulter, rounded out the podium in 1:04:29.92.
For 35-plus expert riders, MSO-Ti Amo rider Mary Scheifley won for women in 1:05:41.29 and Team Vail-Go Fast rider Stephen White won for men in 1:12:15.94. White was followed closely by Jeff Covey of A Racer’s Edge (1:12:36.73) and Arapahoe Warriors’ Thane Wright (1:12:47.83).
For all riders, although the rain slowed things down, nobody sustained serious injury.
“It didn’t rain that hard, so it had a nice cooling effect,” McCormack said. “If it was a torrential downpour, we would have seriously considered canceling the race.”
For full results or more information about the Summit Mountain Challenge race series, visit http://www.mavsports.com.
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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