Local bikers climb into top spots in Vail’s 100
VAIL – It was a good showing for the Aspen biking community Saturday at the second annual Vail Ultra 100.
Riding under overcast skies against 450 competitors from 32 states and four countries, Aspen’s Ted MacBlane and John Roberts finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
The event was won by former World Cup mountain bike racer Mike Kloser from Vail. His time of 7 hours, 28 minutes, 27 seconds bettered Vail’s Mike Skellion and Boulder’s Charlie Hayes. Kloser finished second last year.
MacBlane rode a strong race, finishing in 8:01:05. Last year, the 34-year-old was 17th.
“It’s a really challenging course. The climbs are pretty hard, but I couldn’t have had a better race for me,” he said afterwards.
Roberts, who was one of the few weather victims among the early finishers, rolled across in sixth with a time of 8:22:34, bettering his eighth-place finish of 1998.
Caught in a rain shower not too far from the end, Roberts said it was a rough finish.
“The temperatures dropped 15 to 20 degrees and it was raining pretty hard,” a shivering Roberts said as he huddled under a blanket. Besides the untimely downpour, Roberts was happy with his race. “I did the best I could and I had fun.”
MacBlane, riding in his third 100-miler, said more training time on the bike this year helped improve his showing from 1998. Not certain what the appeal of 100-mile mountain bike races are, MacBlane said that he just keeps doing them.
“It’s kind of a sickness. After the first one I said I’d never do another one, but here I am,” he said with a smile.
He had to overcome a flat tire at the 90-mile mark, but it didn’t cost him a place, and he said he didn’t have a chance to move up any further.
“I pretty much met or exceeded my expectations for the race,” he added.
The course took riders on a torturous trip 50 miles west of Vail over five climbs totaling more than 13,000 feet in elevation.
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