Mike Janelle, a long-time presence on Colorado’s mountain-bike racing sceneand three-time Race Across America champ in the team category, diedabruptly of an apparent heart attack Friday morning. Janelle was 40 yearsold.
A professional mountain-bike racer since 1996 and elite road cyclistsince 1988, Janelle raced for Colorado’s Tokyo Joe’s professional squad,and was a staple on the Mountain States Cup, National Mountain Bike Seriesand local Vail racing series. He was also a ski instructor at Beaver Creekresort.Janelle focused primarily on endurance mountain-bike events, and representedthe United States at the UCI world marathon championships in 2005. Alongsideteammate and friend Jay Henry, Janelle also scored an overall team victoryat the 24 Hours of Moab in 2005. Janelle also scored numerous victoriesat local road and mountain-bike races in Colorado’s Front Range. He finishedfifth at the 2007 USA Cycling marathon national championships in Breckenridge,Colorado on July 4 — a race won by Henry.Janelle was the driving force behind Team Vail-Beaver Creek, which dominatedthe four-person category of the Insight Race Across America from 2005-07.Composed of Coloradans Janelle, Nat Ross, Jimi Mortensen and Zach Bingham,Vail-Beaver Creek scored overall RAAM victories in 2005 and ’06.“The sheer number of races he’s done in his career is amazing,” saidHenry, Janelle’s longtime friend and teammate. “He started racing whenhe was 18, and in 22 years he did a huge amount of races. I think that’swhy he had so many friends as well. He’s been around along time and hasalways been super friendly. A lot of people are going to be sad about hispassing.”Janelle suffered a heart attack at his home in Avon, Colorado, and wasrushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center around 6:30 a.m. Emergency workerswere unable to revive him. Officials have yet to release a statement regardingJanelle’s death.Janelle is survived by his wife, Maribel, currently six monthspregnant with the couple’s first child. Friends and family planto hold a memorial service for Janelle on Monday at 5:00 p.m., November 26 at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center, and plan to establish a memorial fund for his family. Contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.