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Benon Gattis, Legacy Varsity, Gunnison flys down the descent.

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Sophomores, Zach Footer, Evergreen and Thorin Howell, High Desert Composite.

South Conference High School Racers Flock to Colorado Mountain College

Colorado League Cloud City Challenge Race #2 South Report

by Michelle Jensen,
Kate Rau, editor
Contact: Kate Rau, Colorado League Director, kate@coloradomtb.org, 720.272.9282

South Results
Photos

On Sunday, September 9th, 613 high school mountain bikers gathered at Colorado Mountain College for the second race of the South Conference series. Many riders touted the Leadville stop as their favorite. A total of 42 teams were represented. Drew Brust and Matt Telarico represented Valor Christian and Aiden Mattson attends Coronado High School in Colorado Springs. These riders are independents and are stoked to be part of the community as they attempt to start teams at their schools.

The 6.2-mile course starts at 10,077 feet and gains 620 feet per lap. Leadville is the home of the notorious Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race and the ultra-endurance running race. These iconic events are a few of those produced by the Leadville Race Series which is a new sponsor of the Colorado League. Bruce and Stacy Kelley, Coaches of the Leadville team, recruited volunteers, pre-marked the course, and arranged for Senior Stephanie Reveles to perform the National Anthem.

Cloud City Wheelers shared the planned expansion of riding options in the area with the Huck Finn Park and plans for 40 more miles of singletrack around Turquoise Lake. Western State Colorado University explained to parents how riders can continue cycling in college as a member of the Division 2 club sport. The community was welcomed by Colorado Mountain College Dean of Student Affairs, Skip Lee. Optic Nerve displayed sporty specs at affordable prices.

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Chatfield wins the tattoo contest.

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Taos riders created custom tattoos.

The array of temporary tattoos was off the charts. The designs included custom-made logos, realistic tattoo sleeves, and intricately hand-drawn art. Chatfield ultimately took the coveted prize. Littleton Composite rider, Christian Rodriguez, took the tattoo competition very seriously and got some real ink the Saturday before. He competed in a generic grey jersey to avoid the fresh tattoo from bleeding onto his team jersey. Littleton Team supporter, Tom Hall, of Alpha Cycles laughed while telling the story. Tom is proud of the team's humble beginnings with 2 riders. It has expanded to more than 30.

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Cameron Roberts, JV San Luis Valley pushes to the finish.

Parents from Salida commented that they were happy with the new Division 3 team category because it better highlights the smaller teams. Montrose, Taos, and Buena Vista replicated the podium from the first race in Frisco. The hometown Leadville team jumped from 17th to 8th on their local trails. Denver Academy and High Desert were separated by only 24 points for 11th and 12th respectively out of 18 Division 3 teams.

Durango pocketed the Gold in the Division 2 category. Their neighbor Animas took Silver and Highlander Composite took the Bronze. The Durango Freshman squad carried them to victory as 7 of the 15 point earners were 9th graders. In contrast, the Animas podium spot was secured by 5 Varsity racers.

Cheyenne Mountain was the winner of the large team Division 1 competition. Salida's second place was secured by 11 female racers of the 15 total scorers. The depth of the Evergreen JV Boys' squad carried them to third.

Freshman Daniel Sandoval, Montrose emulated camaraderie as he generously stopped to assist Sam Kahraman from Cherry Creek composite with a flat. Daniel sacrificed his race time and mechanical supplies to help a fellow competitor. This is true championship behavior.

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JV boys in staging.

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Crested Butte girls celebrate.

Ruth Holcomb, Durango held onto the Varsity Leader's jersey while Sage Davis, Animas was only 12 seconds back. Taegan Steinfort, Cheyenne Mountain took 3rd while Madelynn Townsend, Salida, and Ellie Malfield, Cheyenne Mountain battled for 4th and 5th.

The Varsity boys field was different than the first race as Nolan Jenkins, Independent was absent and Robbie Day, Evergreen moved from JV to Varsity. Senior Lucca Trapani, Glenwood Springs rode smart saving some fuel for the last 2 laps to take the win. Riley Amos, Durango took home his second Silver for the season as Coby Freeburn, Animas and Robbie Day chased for 3rd and 4th. Amos is the new Varsity points leader and clocked the fastest lap time of the day.

Eli Bennett from Manitou Springs took the win in a field of 164 JV boys. Evan Gattis, Gunnison earned the Leader's jersey with a 4th place in Leadville and a 2nd in Frisco. The JV Girls top 4 finishers were a repeat of Frisco. Mia Aseltine, Chatfield, remains the leader with Abbey Shepard and Ainsley Haggart of Animas in 2nd and 4th. Heidi Martin, Manitou held on strong to 3rd. Aseltine, a 9th grader, is a newcomer to the high school racing scene. These girls are going to be hanging together all season.

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Abigail Fennell, Legacy Varsity, Cherry Creek Composite.

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Freshman boys off the start.

Freshman Gwen Thorne from Manitou Springs advanced 15 places within the field of 32 racers. JV racer Nick Putz, Conifer moved up 88 places. These adept passers earned the Slingshot award presented by the Hometown Toyota Stores. Toyota recognizes those who improve the most from the previous to the current race. Varsity racers Kate Oldham, CRMS and Sadie Schaffer, Animas tied for 2nd in the Toyota girls' slingshot contest.

Amber Lobato from Grand Junction was thrilled with 8th as she surpassed her goal of being in the top 10 of the 49 JV girls. Megan Schuster, Chatfield and Renee Hunley, Columbine were less than 2 seconds apart for 19th and 20th. Both have older brothers who are Legacy riders who raced in the Colorado League for 4 years.

Sophomore Thorin Howell, High Desert Composite celebrated his second victory of the season by requesting Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Announcer Sean Franklin happily obliged as the music matched the majestic setting.

The Freshman boys' competition was stacked with Durango racers and Colby Simmons and Ivan Kutzleb are tied for points going into race #3 as they both have a Gold and Silver. Steven Truesdale, Arapahoe took 4th as he separated teammates, Ivan Sippy, and Daniel Jaber.

Lauren Aggeler, Durango and Emma Barsness, Glenwood Springs are tied for the most points in the South Conference Freshman girls competition. This is the same situation in the North where Victoria Uglyar, Summit and Keira Bond, Fairview will both be wearing a Leaders' jersey in Granby.

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Freshman Girls off the start.

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Vincent Davis and Nate Vacura volunteer to sweep Varsity boys.

The day ended with an uproarious celebration for Columbine Sophmore Sarah "Rockin' it" Rocklin. The crowd chanted her name as they formed an arch with their arms. Lots of people a long way to away from their homes such as Durango, Cortez, and Durango. They all stayed to cheer her on. Many people helped to take down the venue including members of the Glenwood Springs and Taos teams. It is remarkable that this happened for a Boulder High rider at the North Conference race in Steamboat at about the same time.

The South Conference heads to Nathrop for the Chalk Creek Stampede and the North Conference resumes racing at the Granby Ranch Round Up, both are on September 23rd, 2018. More information and links to complete results are always available at coloradomtb.org.

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Sarah Rocklin rides into a sea of supporters.

Calendar

November 3rd
Annual Shift Primal Art Party Fundraiser, Denver, CO

2018 Race Schedule:
Race #2 - South September 9 - Colorado Mountain College, Leadville
Race #2 - North September 9 Emerald Mountain, Steamboat Springs
Race #3 - North September 23 (North) - Granby Ranch
Race #3 - South September 23 (North) - McMurry Ranch, Nathrop
Race #4 October 6 (South) - 7 (North) - Haymaker, Eagle
Race #5 October 21 - 22 State Championships, Durango

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