Veteran endurance athletes strut stuff on final day of Winter Teva Mountain Games

By Real Vail
Real AspenFebruary 13, 2012
There were plenty of familiar faces on the podium Sunday at the inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer, as many seasoned veterans of the annual summer event proved their mettle in the snow.

Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.) and Sari Anderson (Carbondale, Colo.), who have more than a dozen gold medals from the summer Teva Mountain Games between them, collected a few more at the new winter version of the event.

Middaugh, who is an undefeated, five-time winner of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge in the summer, decided to skip the winter version of the event and focus instead on his specialty – running – both with and without snowshoes.

Sari Anderson of Carbondale.

At the Eukanuba 10K Snowshoe Race presented by Ruff Wear on Saturday night, Middaugh, who is also a seven-time North American Snowshoe Champion, bested 2009 North American Snowshoe Champion Scott Gall (Cedar Falls, Iowa) by 23 seconds with finishing time of 47:16. Adventure racer Travis Macy (Evergreen, Colo.) was in third at 47:44.

In the women's 10K race, professional Xterra athlete Sara Tarkington (Boulder, Colo.) took a commanding lead and finished in 57:56, ahead of Jeanne Cooper (Eagle, Colo.) at 59:42. Brandy Erholtz (Evergreen, Colo.) finished in third place at 1:00.

Sunday at 7 a.m. more than 100 people lined up for the start of the Bud Light Vail Uphill, a two-mile, 2,200-foot climb on slopes of Vail from the base of the mountain. Competitors could “pick their grip” for the race, choosing between running shoes, randonee skis with skins, snowshoes or Nordic skis for the race.

With just a few hours of rest from racing the night before, Middaugh ditched his snowshoes in favor or spiked running shoes and picked up another victory for the weekend, finishing with a time of 32:03. Jason Delaney (Golden, Colo.) finished in second place at 32:22 and John Tribbia (Boulder, Colo.) finished in third at 32:31.

In the women's race, accomplished runner Stevie Kremer (Crested Butte, Colo.) claimed victory, also wearing spiked running shoes in a time of 38:15. Behind her, fellow Crested Butte racer Janelle Smiley, wearing lightweight skis and skins finished in 40:05 and Sari Anderson placed third in 40:29.

The Bud Light Vail Uphill also served as the final race of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge (UMC), along with Friday's 10K Nordic race and Saturday's 20-mile ski mountaineering race. With a cumulative time of 5:30:32, Anderson became the first person to win both a winter and summer UMC championship. For the women, Smiley finished in second with a time of 5:35:38, and Kremer in third at 6:02:36.

Despite narrowly losing the ski mountaineering race on Saturday, National Winter Triathlon Champion, Brian Smith (Gunnison, Colo.) maintained his lead in the men's UMC race, beating Marshall Thomson (Crested Butte, Colo.) in the uphill race Sunday to claim the overall UMC victory with a cumulative time of 5:12:29. Thomson was second in 5:16:48 and adventure racing legend Mike Kloser (Vail, Colo) showed he still has plenty of gas left in the tank at age 52 and claimed third place at 5:17:31.

For complete results go to the Winter Teva Mountain Games website.

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