Severy and Gates set to clash in Buddy 5 |

Severy and Gates set to clash in Buddy 5

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jordan Curet The Aspen Times

ASPEN – Things are getting personal.

The rivalry has been a little one-sided of late, but that has not stopped Rickey Gates from unleashing a string of verbal barbs directed at Jon Severy. One would think the two were bitter opponents, not close friends and former Aspen High cross country teammates. Gates served as Severy’s best man last year.

The two will not square off in the Boogie’s Diner Buddy 5-Mile Race until 8 a.m. Saturday, but the trash talking has already reached a fever pitch.

This is no way to speak to the groom.

“I’m looking forward to a great competition … one that will undoubtedly end in my favor,” Gates wrote in an unexpected e-mail to The Aspen Times earlier this week. “I am very confident about this race as Jon has developed a serious condition where his arm pits foam violently creating great drag resistance and severe embarrassment to both his family and friends.”

Strong words from a guy who was dusted by 35 seconds in last year’s Independence Day classic. Severy, a former All-American at CU, blitzed the field and set a course record with a time of 26 minutes, 3 seconds.

Recommended Stories For You

The Boogie’s title was his second straight and fourth overall.

“Things just fell apart,” Gates opined after last year’s race. “All my ploys, not a single one of them came true. I was the one who went out drinking last night, and Jon was the one who stayed in and got a good night’s sleep. The chicken wire that I put across the course at Mile 3 wasn’t there. And there were shoelaces that came untied, but they weren’t Jon’s.”

So why is Gates, a former Buddy 5 champion and World Mountain Running Association standout, exuding confidence this time around?

Maybe it’s because he had the upper hand in the two’s latest head to head. Gates cruised to a 79-second win in June 20’s Mount Washington Road Race, a grueling 7.6 mile ascent that covers 4,650 vertical feet at an average grade of 12 percent.

Severy was more than 5 minutes off the pace.

“I’m not quite sure what happened at Mount Washington. Rickey somehow floated uphill, and it was pretty ugly for me,” Severy said Thursday. “I’m still seething about getting beaten … I’ve been meditating in a room the last fast weeks over destroying him in the Boogie’s race.”

Severy said he’ll be ready to upstage his friend Saturday. The University of Vermont medical student found time to train for at least an hour each day between classes. He’s also previewed the course, one replete with fast downhill, a daunting Cemetery Lane hill and a sprint to the finish.

The Aspen asphalt is where Severy excels.

“I’ve been training for this race my whole life,” Severy said. “I’m feeling pretty confident – Mount Washington was just a little glitch in my training. … I made some idle threats in good humor, and I have a feeling [Gates] is not going to come back to Aspen. He’ll probably fly to Europe, and once he’s there climb up the biggest mountain he can to get away from me.”

Gates isn’t about to shy away from this latest challenge – or from poking fun at his friend.

“… his second year of med. school, I know for certain, has taken its toll on him,” Gates wrote. “He’s been breathing a lot of formaldehyde, which is known to severely effect one’s judgment. I wouldn’t put it past him to stop in to his mom’s place at Mile 3.5 for coffee and French toast during the race.”

Severy has other ideas.

“I just want to see him one more time and give him a little farewell good-bye from way out front,” he joked. “He’ll have to leave Aspen for a long time after this race.”

Tune in Saturday morning.