Colorado-press-2018
 
Hang Loose Varsity Boy

Legacy Varsity, Bryce Bonner, Green Mountain enjoying the ride.

Cresting the hill JV girls

Nadia Shea, JV, Glenwood Springs crests hill.

High School Mountain Bike Racers Swarm Frisco to Play in the Dirt

Colorado League Frisco Bay Invitational 2018 Race #1 Report

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

North Results
South Results
Photos

The 9th season of the Colorado High School Cycling League race series opened with the Frisco Bay Invitational. A swarm of 1,178 student-athletes gathered at the Frisco Adventure Park to test their singletrack skills on a 6.3-mile course. The Town of Frisco’s Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA) is one of a handful of venues capable of handling the growing size of the races. The venue offers spectators expansive viewing options from the start line to the series of switchbacks where lots of action was observed into the finish.

Former professional mountain biker, respected Summit County resident, and athlete, Pete Swenson is the new Trails Director at the PRA. He adeptly hosted the event and marked a special pre-ride course for the racers. “The PRA is family friendly, has parking, bathrooms, a kids’ pump track, and a good space for the large start/finish needed for high school racing.” Swenson added, “We’re really excited to be planning the addition of twenty plus miles of singletrack in the next couple of years and hosting more high school races.”

Over 70 teams traveled from around the region, including points as far north as Casper, WY and south to Taos, NM. Teams are divided into North and South conferences and organized into 3 divisions by team size. There are four individual race categories divided into boys and girls classes. Every single rider makes every effort to finish and score points for their respective team within their conference.

The venue was teeming with alums who were coaching, volunteering, cheering on their friends, or serving as photographers. Cassie Taylor, 2017 Boulder High Varsity captain, surprised Coach Boyer by coming back as a mechanic with Boulder Cycle Sport. Cassie is taking a year off racing and continues to support the Boulder team and coaches for Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures. Her connection to Coach Boyer and the Boulder High community is what keeps her coming back.

New for the 2018 season includes a third division added to the team format and the Varsity girls and Varsity boys starting in the same wave. These changes were implemented to accommodate growth among female participants, to allow Sophomore boys to have their own start wave, and to provide a better distribution of team size.

Brunch Socks

Socks, socks, socks.

Sock-cycle

Cheyenne Mountain wins the South team sock contest.

The weekend was chock full of festivities with a crazy sock team contest while spectators engaged with various sponsors and partners including the 2018 presenting sponsor Your Hometown Toyota Stores. Middle Park eeked out the North team sock contest while Cheyenne Mountain took the South team contest award. Those teams took home a pile of goodies from Squirt Lube, Justin's Nut Butter and other sponsors. Western State Colorado University ran out of their free Mountaineer socks, as they were the perfect item this weekend.

Eric Fletcher, a representative for title sponsor Toyota, stated “Hometown Toyota Stores are invested in supporting mountain biking in the region and when Hometown Toyota sees an institution in the community with the qualities of the Colorado High School Cycling League, decisions go straight up the ladder so that Toyota can partner with the League at a high level.”

Longtime sponsor Optic Nerve was humming with customers. Colorado Mountain College was onsite sharing information and preparing for the South Race #2 in Leadville. April Paige founder of the Check-In Foundation stated, "The League combines my love for cycling and the ability to deal directly with the issues of suicide prevention and mental health. We have a chance to reach young people here and we believe the partnership will last for many years." The Feedback Sports Ominum Portable Trainer was a big hit for people to test.

Wheat Ridge Cyclery, graciously provides neutral support every year with supplies from SRAM and Squirt Lube. Chris Pepper, the experienced mechanic from Wheat Ridge Cyclery was pumped to return this year to assist student-athletes. He was quite busy teaching them to be more mechanically independent and knowledgeable.

Toyota Yeti

Sponsors Toyota and Yeti showcase their products.

Feedback w cutie

Toddler testing the rollers.

There are countless stories of racers overcoming challenges to participate. Lena Stolper JV, Ralston Valley. completed her race, escorted by her father, while shouldering her own supplemental oxygen to compensate for a lung condition. She was determined to follow her older brothers' Legacy stints. One of the day's finest individual performances came from Christopher Ziemann, Sophomore, Golden who finished his race unaided. Throughout the 2017 season, he was escorted by adult riders due to his autism and related conditions.

When asked about Ziemann, Golden Head Coach Jeff Warner responded, “Like probably most teams out here, any high school student who wants to be on the team can, whether or not they choose to race." Rau added,“If a rider is willing, then the League and the team find a way to include that rider, regardless of ability.”

Finn O'Shea, JV, Arapahoe was plagued with a major mechanical. He was going to give up given his drivetrain was toasted. With lightning speed, three Varsity Legacy riders, Benon Gattis, Gunnison, Tanner Oman, and Nate Stryker Montrose, converted Finn's bike into a single speed so Finn could finish his race. This truly depicts perseverance and incredible kindness. Gunnison, parent, Lisa Holland said, "The High School Colorado League is doing a phenomenal job." She looks forward to the South league having more race venues closer.

Petra Schmidtmann, Varsity Legacy, Nederland is a very seasoned competitor and took the Silver at the 2017 State Championships. She was in a podium position when on the last lap she was bedeviled by a flat, empty CO2 cartridge, and a defunct spare tube. She graciously accepted assistance from the course marshal, cheered on the field flying by her, and finished the race after fixing the flat. Petra certainly models mature, positive sporting behavior.

The North race ended with Ethan Durrell, Freshman, Fort Collins running across the finish line with 2 flats. Ethan's determination inspired Tanner Korell, Sophomore, Chatfield to finish his race on Sunday despite a broken handlebar. All of the student-athletes dig deep and definitely motivate one another.

League Executive Director Kate Rau commented, “Integral to the League’s mission is to balance inclusivity with selectivity by structuring the races to encourage participation, completing one’s race, and the positive development of young people through sport. The student-athletes' grit and the quality of coaching continue to impress me.”

Chatfield Tanner Korell

Tanner Korell, Sophomore, Chatfield finished his race despite a broken handlebar.

Whatever it takes Frosh Boy North

Ethan Durrell, Freshman, Fort Collins running across the finish line with 2 flats.

North Conference Saturday

The North conference started the weekend's competition. For the largest teams, the Division 1 team podium consisted of the 126-member Boulder High team, 2017 reigning state champion Fairview High earned second, and gaining Golden High School in third. Boulder High’s Coach Ben Boyer stated, “What I really want is for everyone to have as many kids and as much fun as we have out here. Our motto is, finish it!”

Golden teammates Madelynn Gerritsen and Ryan Campbell clocked the fastest laps for the day. They contributed to their team's 3rd place and will be in the Leader's jersey in Steamboat Springs.

Fresh off the Six Day Breck Epic, Gerritsen showed her experience by prowling for most of the Varsity Girls race behind the equal parts intense and intelligent pace of Fairview’s Ada Urist. “I was nervous at the start line because there are more girls this year…then a short way in I realized that we were all pushing each other to be better…going into the short section of singletrack before the final downhill I thought maybe I could get ahead of Ada [Urist] and I did and I was able to hold on from there,” said Gerritsen. Boulder’s Madigan Munro outlasted Summit’s sprinting Tai-Lee Smith for third and fourth respectively.

Ryan Campbell took the Varsity win as a Sophomore from Golden. Campbell pulled away from Boulder riders Jared Scott and Bjorn Riley on the last lap as the three of them paced the pack for the entire 4-lap race.

Bayli McSpadden, JV, VSSA took the win with four Boulder riders tailing her. The JV boys' squad of 164 riders had the closest race with a 19-second spread between the top 5 riders. Luke Elphingstone, Fairview, took the win. Golden teammates Connor Logan and Aidan Berk were 2nd and 3rd as Aidan Duffy, Eagle Valley, and Cam Owens, Steamboat filled the top 5 places.

Mark for the win

Division 2 North Teams: Battle Mountain, 1st; Green Mountain 2nd; Lakewood 3rd.

2018 COHS FRISCO NORTH-8413

Click on photo to hear the Olsson Family story.

The Division 2 podium was made up of mountain town stalwart Battle Mountain, then Green Mountain Composite, and Lakewood High School in third. Dan Weiland serves as the Head Coach for all three of the Vail area teams and said, “I'm really proud of our crew and we truly operate as one team!”

Green Mountain's 2nd place trophy was buoyed by the three Molnar sisters who all race Varsity. They are 3 of a group of quadruplets. Julia Molnar was thrilled with the new format where the Varsity girls and boys race in the same wave. Freshman Middle Park racer Sophia Olsson was cheered on by her mom, Tamara, and older sister Bella. Bella raced all four years as an Independent before Middle Park had an organized team. The Olsson's tell how the mountain bike scene has kept their family close and healthy in this podcast.

Division 3's podium showed more of cycling’s popularity in the Vail Valley with first place VSSA followed by neighboring Eagle Valley. Laramie Wyoming’s team took a plucky third despite perpetually being on the road. Laramie’s Coach Cindy Dywan said, “This was the first Colorado League race for over half our athletes. Two of them were involved in crashes at their start. I am proud of their grit to get up and keep going and even more impressed by their strength and determination to catch back up and place well individually and for their team.”

Siblings Shea and Carsten Stalgren both scored for Loveland. Shea raced to 10th in the very competitive field of 28 girls. Carsten a Freshman rode to 20th of the 110 starters.

The North Conference races next in Steamboat Springs and the South Conference in Leadville, both on September 9th. More information and full results can be found on website.

Volunteer of the Day

Chris Aamot, Boulder High, wins the Volunteer of the day.

Good times Summit

Team Summit members enjoy the awards ceremony.

South Conference Sunday

The nervous anticipation of new racers as they oriented to the boisterous atmosphere was palpable and the veteran riders were anxious to get the season underway. Several new teams experienced the rowdy, caring, camaraderie emblematic of high school mountain biking. New teams joined the South conference include Basalt, Canon City, Denver Academy, Pagosa Springs, STEM School Highlands Ranch, and Santa Fe Composite.

Cheyenne Mountain, Salida, and Evergreen earned the top 3 positions of the Division 1 South conference. Columbine was 4th by a mere 32 points over Chatfield. Taegan Steinfort, Varsity, was the top point earner for Cheyenne Mountain as she took 2nd behind Ruth Holcomb a Sophomore from Durango.

Division 2 team podium included Durango, Highlander Composite, followed by Animas. Nolan Jenkins, Independent raced to 1st in Varsity with Riley Amos, Animas in 2nd. Legacy racers Jack Rotter, Columbine, Jayden Hakala, Highlander Composite, and Lucca Trapani, Glenwood Springs chased the lead group to round out the podium.

Top Division 3 teams included Montrose, Taos, and Buena Vista. Sophomore Thorin Howell from High Desert Composite was thrilled to bring home a Gold. Montrose, sisters Paige, and Abby Hauptmann both contributed to their team's win. Legacy Varsity teammates Nate Stryker and Tanner Oman raced one another every lap to 15th and 16th. Stryker's younger sister Lydia's 6th place Sophomore also added to the Montrose points.

Taos and Buena Vista were thrilled to be on the team podium for the first time. Cole Hughes' 9th place finish was the top point earner for Taos. Three of the five-point earners for Buena Vista were girls. Palisade was only 7 points behind 3rd place.

South Freshman over the rise 2

Jordan Pidek, Freshman, Dakota Ridge, descends with confidence.

Good Hinge Varsity Boy

Wheeler Fear, Varsity, CRMS, demonstrates superb descending position.

Abigail Fennell, Varsity Legacy, Cherry Creek was thrilled to be the first Legacy for her team and trained hard this summer. Robbie Day, JV, Evergreen's stellar performance as a 10th grader earned him a promotion to Varsity for race #2 in Steamboat Springs.

Pagosa Springs, new to the League had two riders participate in Frisco. They plan to add to their roster throughout the season. Parents and coaches enjoyed the family-friendly vibe and many veteran teams welcomed them throughout the day. Brae Bergdolt, Sophomore, was happy with 15th and applied his competitive nature by sprinting past Devon Downey of Salida. Bergdolt gave the tip. “Don’t burn out at the start,” to his Freshman teammate Sawyer Blakemore.

Denver Academy, another new team, said the school administration is extremely supportive. All three coaches are teachers and with seventeen on the roster, they hope to have more riders race in Leadville.

Basalt coach, Jon Delk, helped Basalt High School to build their own program as historically they scored as part of the Aspen team. Delk has a long game approach to work with the middle school to cultivate a lasting interest. Basalt now proudly wears their own school jersey. Chase Kelly, 7th grader, cheered brother Christian Kelly race to 11th for Aspen. Chase has ridden since 3rd grade and loves the sport because it’s an adventure and he can get away from everything.

IMG 0596

South JV boys ready to roar of the start.

Two JV girls puffy cloud

Sophia Knuttel, JV, Fountain Valley is chased by Michaela Main, Leadville.

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

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS!

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THANKS TO NICA SPONSORS!

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