Colorado Press Release Header 2021
 
Seger Family

Stargate Academy Head Coach and founder Kristin Seger with daughter Ashley, Legacy senior, and Jeff Seger, fellow coach and partner.

Durango Mesa Pursuit Caps the Colorado League’s 12th year!

State Championships 2021 Race Report

Race Reporters Matt Muir and Kate Rau, editor Kate Rau

Race Results
Photos

The Durango Mesa Pursuit marked The Colorado High School Cycling League’s “Dirty Dozen” 12th Annual State Championship on October 23-24, 2021 on a mesa above Durango, Colorado. The season was presented by Your Front Range Toyota Stores.

A total of 817 riders competed from 83 teams representing schools from Taos, New Mexico in the south to Spearfish, South Dakota in the north. The League’s four regions include Crystal, Piedra, Platte, and Yampa. They converged to compete in categories from Freshman to Varsity. Many seniors and teams capped their season with joy and heartfelt memories. Several alums came to watch siblings, volunteer, or relish the fun, energetic vibe that defines Colorado League events.

Crested Butte Pyramid

Crested Butte team places 3rd in the Division 3 team contest.

Thanks to vital local partners like the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, the Durango Business Improvement District, and Fort Lewis College who--like all the League’s partners--make it possible to serve over 1,600 youth cyclists across four states. League Executive Director Kate Rau states, “The real podium is 1,600 riders deep who partake in our mission of empowering youth, strengthening family bonds, and building community."

A special thanks go to the Durango Mesa Park for hosting the 2021 State Championships. Durango Mesa Park is made possible through the generous donation from a local resident with a vision to turn the park into a world-class venue for the community and visitors to the area, with recreation and athletic facilities, music and cultural venues, and the new home to La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Abby Hauptman Family

Montrose Varsity Legacy rider Abby Hauptmann surrounded by her family, including sister Paige a Legacy alum.

Durango Mesa Park Executive Director, Moira Compton commented, "In the next few years the park will include a vast trail network, a full feature bike park with a venue to host regional, state, national, and international cycling and running events. Durango Mesa Park is an extraordinary community asset that celebrates the region’s values of open space, scenic vistas, culture and arts, outdoor recreation, and community gathering."

She added a personal note, “As a parent of a former league racer, I really miss those hours in the car driving to bike races and spending weekends creating great memories, now that Cecilia is in college I so miss that car time--once high school races are over, that chapter of life is over.”

JV Legacy Riders Start

Several JV Legacy riders identified with gold race plates sprint off the start.

Steamboat Disco Pose

Steamboat team rocks the disco glam.

Saturday’s National Anthem was sung by a duet of Legacy riders Ella Lindenberg of Glenwood Springs and Emma Barnsness of VSSA. Laurel Galvin from Fairview sang Sunday’s hymn. Both performances brought the busy venue to a halt each morning.

Steamboat Springs was decidedly the winner of the disco-themed spirit contest with vintage costumes and a rolling party complete with a human disco ball. They also took home the 2nd place trophy in the Division 2 team competition.

Jenna Gilbert, Assistant Director of Fort Lewis College was thrilled with how many riders toured the campus. They sponsored the End of Season Awards ceremony where the Colorado League recognizes riders, coaches, volunteers, and others who make a significant impact on the organization. In 2021, 19 awards were presented. A list of recipients with their inspiring stories is HERE.

Mike Burns Nederland Check

Mike Burns, Alpine Bank Regional President gives the Nederland team a travel scholarship.

SRAM acknowledges two teams that contribute the most trail work with the Golden Pick award which includes a $500 donation to those teams. Fairview and Cañon City tallied the most hours of digging per team member in 2021.

Mike Burns, Alpine Bank, Regional President expressed the importance of their partnership with the Colorado League.

Travel scholarships sponsored by Alpine Bank were awarded to 6 teams:
• Ralston Valley
• Leadville
• Arapahoe
• East
• Stargate
• Nederland

James Madden JV Legacy Boulder

Boulder Legacy racer James Madden, JV decorated in dirt.

Chiara Pesce

Varsity Senior Chiara Pesce wears the traditional Ralston Valley tutu.

Hattie Connor Slingshot

The Toyota Slingshot jersey award for the most improved riders against their State Championship seeded start position went to four riders, two of each gender over the two days of racing. On Saturday, Battle Mountain’s JV Karen Sandoval moved up 36 spots after starting her race in 86th position. Junior Varsity, Luka Shymik of Rock Canyon went from a start spot of 133rd to a 48th place finish for an 85 spot improvement.

On Sunday, there was a tie for Slingshot with Nora Quinones of Manitou Springs who sprung from 38th to15th through the field of stiff competition in Varsity, and Hattie Carpenter, who jumped from 59th to 26th in a field of 66 Sophomores. Legacy 4-year racer Connor Harvey of Ralston Valley clawed his way through the Varsity boys race to go from 84th to 29th in a field of 90 seasoned riders.

Kalen Brown, Freshman, Boulder, is a frequent flyer in the Yeti Skills zone and he was the winning male both days. His older sister Ella joined him on the top step on Sunday. Camille Deranleau, JV Legacy, Conifer was the winning female skills rider on Saturday.

***

Team Results

By the end of Saturday, JV, and Freshman races it looked like a school other than Boulder could finally pull off the win. Golden was a mere 16 points shy of Boulder after placing girls into 12 of the possible 15 scoring slots. Fairview remained within striking distance and anticipated a strong set of results on Sunday. Glenwood Springs and Evergreen were in 4th and 5th, both teams showing development over the past years.

Mark Turner Coach Doug Bursnall

Cheyenne Mountain Head Coach Doug Bursnall congratulates Legacy Varsity racer Mark Turner.

In the end, in the large Division 1 teams, Boulder’s hard to surmount 140+ member team won its ninth state championship. Fairview pursued its second state championship right up to the end but, instead, finished in 2nd again. It was hometown Durango that surged to 3rd over the duration of Sunday’s Varsity and Sophomore races.

Golden was behind by a mere 57 points and had the most girls score with 11 of 15. Injured Varsity racer Cate Logan supported her team all weekend. Ralston Valley placed 9th by 30 points ahead of Summit. Only 37 points separated Glenwood Springs and Cheyenne Mountain for 7th and 8th among 17 teams.

Due to the pandemic in 2020, Colorado League races were canceled. It is notable the Boulder High team’s founder, Ben Boyer, retired at the end of 2019. This author coached under Boyer and what he created was magic. It’s not an accident that the team attracts over 140 kids of all skill levels.

D1 Team Podium

Division 1 Team podium.

Jacob and Emma Barsness

Legacy alum of Glenwood Springs Jacob Barsness sweeps Varsity girls with sister Emma.

Division 2 was won by VSSA followed by Steamboat. Eagle Valley took 3rd place over Montrose. Montrose is one of several western slope schools whose program continues to improve year after year. Notable was the stiff competition between 5th through 8th with only 66 points spanning these schools. Monarch took 5th after taking the 2020 pandemic season off. Columbine took 13th over Woodland Park with a razor-thin margin of 8 points.

The small Division 3 team category was won by 7220 Laramie, the Speedgoats. Leadville and Crested Butte took 2nd and 3rd. In 12th was newcomer Spearfish, South Dakota by 8 points over Roaring Fork. Out of 41 teams, Spearfish won the unofficial award for most miles driven. Only 10 points separated 14th, Fort Collins through 18th with Lewis-Palmer and Regis Jesuit tied for 15th. Littleton and Telluride Mountain School also tied.

***

Varsity Boys

The Durango Mesa Pursuit has seen great races like Riley Amos, Durango alum versus Robbie Day, Evergreen alum who battled in 2019 for 1st and 2nd. Both have since competed on the World Cup stage and volunteered as course sweeps at Sunday’s race while wearing full disco attire. Or Maddie Munro’s solo sojourn from start to finish in 2019. Or 2018’s four-way battle between Ada Urist, Munro, Sofia Forney, and Ruth Holcomb. The 2021 Varsity boys race belongs among those great races. It came down to a five-up powerful sprint with 6th place only five seconds behind. The 90-person field included 43 Legacy seniors.

On the first trip up the gully climb after riding under the flyover, Fairview’s Liam Baartman put in a probing attack, not too hard but hard enough to get 10 meters of separation, gaze back, and see how things looked. Things looked like Ivan Sippy of Durango and Kade Kreikemeier, Independent North, confidently tracking Baartman, their heads down but their eyes spying their quarry.

The trio stayed together for another lap. On the same gully climb, Baartman sat up for an instant, pulled off, let Sippy catch, and led before swinging back in between Sippy and Kreikemeier. The three rode another lap together, this time with Sippy doing the pacemaking.

parker randles South

South Varsity racer Parker Randles was integral in starting the team.

jack Kearsey Legacy CRMS

Jack Kearsey, Varsity Legacy, Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

Adam Mote Varsity Legacy Golden

Adam Mote, Varsity Legacy, Golden leads Stanzione on rocky descent.

In the meantime, Boulder’s Johnny Stanzione and Vin Hludzinski were discretely making up ground in tandem, each with a skilled effort that weighed energy expended against the need to make the catch. Neither quite red-lined their pace. Both were narrowing the gap to the leaders. Just behind them, Golden’s Adam Mote rode a clever pace by himself in a solitary reckoning of doubt versus belief.

On lap three, Sippy led as Baartman and Kreikemeier raced wheel to wheel in the group of three. Observing halfway up the gully climb, Fairview’s, North Coach of the Year, Andy Feeney commented “I’ve never seen that look on Baartman’s face” referring to the punch-drunk visages on the faces of all three who were discovering the limits of suffering and determination.

Sippy, Baartman, and Kreikemeier crested the little saddle to ride the backside of the second half of the last lap. Then came a hint of a catch. Stanzione and Hludzinski crested ten or fewer seconds later but with more momentum and having captured the scent of the leaders. Mote remained 6th doing the hard work of a pursuit solo from ten seconds back.

Kreikemeier commented on being in the lead group of three, “It was really a tactical race between the three of us up front, no one wanted to be on the front. Then coming into the finish we got caught from behind and it got really aggressive!”

Ryan Rydland Family

Ryan Rydland, Varsity Legacy, Discovery Canyon with family and fans.

Varsity Group

Varsity Seniors Justin Saylor, Columbine, Ethan NeJame-Zeiset, Salida, and Ash Brown, Montrose.

Vin and Johnny Feed

Boulder Varsity Legacy Riders Vin Hludzinski and Johnny Stanzione work together.

In the last miles, Boulder Legacy riders Stanzione and Hludzinski bridged, making contact with the three leaders. Stanzione said, "It’s so hard to pass in the last part of the course that instead of sitting on the back I slotted into second when I could before it was too late.” It was a prescient move that determined the finish order with Stanzione 0.90 seconds behind victor Baartman.

The train of five hit the final switchbacks with Mote persisting seconds behind. Each rider’s speed approached zero before reaccelerating at the apex of the dusty, blown-out curves where more than a few riders slid out during the weekend’s racing. Baartman did not wait and he did not look back.

Nicholas Elliott Durango Legacy

Durango Varsity Legacy rider Nicholas Elliott.

He exited the final curve launching his sprint out of the saddle pounding his pedals and manhandling his handlebar until he crossed the line in first. Stanzione put in an equal sprint but exited the curve after Baartman and could only level out at an even velocity but behind by less than a wheel.

Sippy, Kreikemeier, and Hludzinski all produced their own sprints to finish in that order. Never yielding, Legacy rider Mote came in 6 seconds after Hludzinski followed by Roaring Fork’s Corbin Carpenter and then Legacy rider Tristan Smith of 7220 Laramie.

Emblematic of the League, Baartman did not posture nor pose in the finishing chute. Rather, he embraced his coach and teammates in the shared unbridled joy that was a sight for sore eyes during a pandemic.

Jackson Dunlap Manitou

Jackson Dunlap, Varsity Legacy, Manitou.

Camden Burke Carson Alisho Legacy Varsity

Varsity Legacy riders Camden Burke, Fairview and Carson Alisho, Lakewood.

***
Sarah Bivens Legacy

VSSA Legacy Varsity Sarah Bivens navigates a rocky descent.

Varsity Girls

A total of 46 Varsity girls toed the line for 3 laps including 19 Legacy seniors. Longtime observers agree while boys racing developed rapidly in the League; for the last few years, the girls' racing has become an equal demonstration of prowess. The roar of the crowd echoing off the slopes above the mesa during the girls' Varsity race is a testament to the energy surrounding the competition.

At the start, Fairview’s Jorja Bond broke her chain and lost her chance to contest the race at the front where she became a presence later in the season as a sophomore. Bond calmly dismounted, installed a quick link in her chain, avoided a 5-minute penalty, and continued her race to end up in 12th.

The first of three laps included seven riders who had sub 31-minute laps. A lead pack formed heading out on lap 2 consisting of Bailey Cioppa, Durango, Glenwood Springs’s Chloe Lutgring, and Laramie 7220’s Isa Naschold. Naschold received the Exceptional Female Student-Athlete award on her birthday the evening before.

Varsity train

Six Varsity girls pushing the pace on the first lap.

On the second lap, Lutgring and Naschold held their pace but it was not enough. Cioppa elevated her pace and rode away, cresting the gully climb 44 seconds ahead of her two chasers.

Cioppa rode the last lap alone and off the front. Riding up the gully climb for the last time, Cioppa looked back just to be sure. A trail-side and friendly Vail coach who was getting race splits over the radio witnessed Cioppa looking back and told her, “You don’t need to look back, nice job, enjoy it!” She won with a time of 1:29:33.

Marin Ward Legacy Summit

Summit Legacy Varsity, Marin Ward navigates loose sandy corner.

Sophie Trunnell Legacy

Sophie Trunnell, Varsity Legacy, Cheyenne Mountain tackles descent.

Bailey Cioppa Grandfather

Durango's Bailey Cioppa, Legacy Varsity State Champion with her grandfather.

Lutgring did the pacesetting in the chase group of two. Naschold, typical of her season, held Lutgring’s wheel with a poised diesel-like cadence finishing 3rd in 1:30:18, conceding only five seconds to Lutgring who took second.

Cioppa said “Going into the weekend I wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t raced most of those girls before. I knew I just had to race smart, be patient and not go off the front right away. I am very happy to win my last race especially with a home crowd and I would just like to thank the Colorado League and Durango Devo for such a fun 4 years!”

Maddy Glotfelty of Animas, Emma Barsness of VSSA, and Rowan Ellis-Rissler of Boulder filled in the top six finishers. The three of them crossed the line within 3 seconds of each other. Count on Ellis-Rissler to have a good race if she starts slow. She methodically picked off multiple riders to rise through the ranks during her race.

Trailside Trio

Varsity Legacy riders Garvey, Durango and Vaillancourt, Manitou Springs with Rachel Dye.

Hannah Garvey, Durango was on pace in 4th behind good friend Nashold after lap 1. Durango coaches expected Garvey and she had not come through with the led group on lap 2. We learned she crashed on the south section of the course on her second lap. Ella Vaillancourt of Manitou Springs who was 5th overall for the Crystal region came upon Garvey and fell as well.

Cioppa rode by her friends Garvey and Vaillancourt while they were considering their next move. She assertively encouraged them to get up and ride. Garvey and Vaillancourt rode once cleared by medic by Rachel Dye of Event Medical Specialists. Coaches were informed that these riders would be pulled impacting their ability to race 3 laps. Salida Legacy rider Gwen Ramsey suffered a similar fate. It was a tough break for these three Legacy seniors on their last high school race.

***
Aiden Miller McShan Regis Jesuit Legacy

Aidan Miller McShan, JV Legacy, Regis Jesuit powers through his pedal stroke.

JV Boys

Nico Konecny of Summit continued his winning ways, cranking out two laps in 50:21 to stay clear of second place by over a minute at the finish. Konecny said, “The racecourse was fast and fun. There were a lot of great competitors in the JV boys race and it was exciting to race with them. The environment of the weekend was enjoyable and super fun, and I am looking to next year. I would love to shout out my team Summit Tigers for an amazing season and for their awesome support on and off the bike!”

Steamboat’s Aidan Haack finished his race alone in 2nd place after sticking with Konecny for most of the first lap. Benjamin Bravmen of Golden led Reiner Schmidt of VSSA and Fisk Johansson of Kelly Walsh, WY for the top five. Places 3rd through 5th were spaced within 45 seconds of each other and all three were freshmen.

JV Start over Flyover

Aidan Haack, Platte regional champion Steamboat and Max Johnson, High Desert Composite climb up the flyover.

Christian Landeros Legacy Glenwoord

Christian Landeros, JV Legacy, Glenwood Springs flows through turns.

Lots of excitement always occurs in the mid-pack with grueling close sprints. Ryan Jones, Boulder battled with Legacy racers Griffin Moyer, Lakewood, and teammate Bryce Kaminski with only 0.58 seconds separating 89th through 91st. A razor-thin difference of 0.01 seconds put Andrew Heil of Fruita Monument ahead of Amory Kindle, Salida.

The 155 person JV boys field was dotted with 24 Legacy senior riders wrapping up four years of dedication to the sport and to their teams. Rau said, “Every year, the JV field continues to impress with so many close sprints to the line, especially the 4-year Legacy riders, who persist no matter the circumstances, and proudly finish with such incredible grit.”

JV Bunch Sprint

Chris Kamper, JV Glenwood Springs, sprints past Chance Hein, Legacy Middle Park and others.

Lucca Luprefido CB

Luca Loperfido, JV Crested Butte climbs.

***
Abigal Bothwell East Legacy

East Legacy JV racer Abigail Bothwell focuses through a turn.

JV Girls

Golden freshman Sage Hummon remained in a league of her own after riding off the front all season except for Granby where she was out with illness. Hummon won her race at 1:00:05 for two laps, ahead of Leadville’s Rose Horning.

Hummon said, “It was an amazing experience to be riding alongside 100 fast and fierce competitors, definitely the largest race I’ve ever been in. One hundred girls on bikes! I feel so lucky to be on the Golden team and in the Colorado League. We are building a community of riders, not just racers. I can’t wait to get back out here next season!”

Link School JV Girls

Coach James Orlet with The Link School JV racers Tara Advani and Caroline Kerr.

Elena Dunn BV Legacy

Elena Dunn, JV Legacy, Buena Vista.

Riley Huston, also of Golden, arrived 3rd. Legacy senior Mary Alyce Collins of Rocky Mountain took 4th and Hayden Bevington of Salida rounded out the top five. Collins received the 2021 Most Improved Female Student-Athlete award.

In this field of 101 JV competitors, 17 are Legacy senior girls. The League’s female participation was 23% for the season with 272 at the State Championships comprising 33% for this race.

Maddie Blair Golden Legacy

Maddie Blair, JV Legacy, Golden.

Seda Condell Legacy

Salida JV Legacy racer Seda Condell.

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Eli DeBoom Luke Robibson Regional Champs

Luke Robinson, Fairview Platte regional champion congratulates Eli DeBoom, Boulder for sprinting to become the Sophomore State Champion.

Sophomore Boys

With 149 riders deep, the Sophomore boys' race came down to 31 seconds between 1st and 4th place in the 2-lap race. Boulder’s Eli DeBoom came into the race wearing the Yampa Division leader’s jersey but having finished second in Granby two weeks earlier by over 40 seconds.

In Durango, DeBoom had a new challenge in the form of Durango’s Liam Bezek who forced DeBoom into a sprint finish, beating Bezek by just over a tenth of a second.

Emil Kjellsen of Golden placed 3rd beat Cole McGinnis, Rocky Mountain by 0.30 seconds and Stanley Buzek of Summit completed the top five.

Sophomores Bezek Golden

Emil Kjellsen, Golden is passed by Liam Bezek, Piedra regional champion from Durango.

Cade Bosler Arapahoe

Cade Bosler, Sophomore, Arapahoe happy with 53rd place.

Cheyenne Cortez Sprint

Ty Bronder, Cheyenne, WY takes 61st sprinting past Farrar Desloge, High Desert Composite.

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Reagan and Haydn

Reagan Agrimson, Air Academy and Haydn Hludzinski, Boulder celebrate their success.

Sophomore Girls

Boulder’s Haydn Hludzinski was considering playing volleyball in the fall sports season. Instead, she decided to mountain bike again. Then she used the regular-season races trial and error process placing well but not winning. In Durango’s Sophomore girls' race, she put all the pieces together.

Hludzinski departed the start line, went over the flyover tied for first, put in an effort to open a gap, and held her gap for the rest of the 2-lap race. Hludzinski finished in 1:03:40, 8 seconds ahead of Reagan Agrimison of Air Academy who, like Hludzinski, held a steady pace for the entirety of the race, covering the miles with a metronomic effort. Samantha Meskin of Glenwood Springs, beat Stella Sanders of Eagle Valley, by only 0.19 seconds. Danica Wehr of Conifer placed 5th. A total of 66 girls raced in this category.

Sophomore Girls train

Middle Park Sophomore Annie Kuhns chased by Mia Frater, Woodlawn Park.

***

Freshman Boys

The 151 Freshman boys faced cool temperatures at the start of their 8:30 AM race. A half lap into the 2-lap race on the figure-eight course and the first trip up the gully climb, a group of six leaders formed that then strung out into ones and twos during the second lap.

On lap two, Coach Andy Clark encouraged his rider, Jake McDill, to empty the tank going up the same gully climb. In a rare instance where a racer had more to give, McDill stood out of the saddle, accelerated, and shouted for his cohort to chase down the leaders ahead.

Freshman Boys Flyover

Kirkpatrick, leads followed by Humphrey, McDill, and Cherney on the first Freshman boys lap..

Basalt Freshman

Aspen Basalt teammates Monte Musselman, Cole Chism and Liam Heath.

6090 Columbine Freshman

Finn Clement Columbine descends a rock drop.

By the time McDill was done, he dropped everyone around him, caught everyone in front of him, and ended up winning in 55:11 and 10 seconds ahead of 2nd place Canyon Cherney of Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

McDill said, “Going under the flyover I was feeling OK. I had energy left but one guy was pretty far in front. Then I saw my dad cheering and got a burst of energy and made the attack to go win the race on the final climb.”

Carter Kirkpatrick of Fairview took 3rd, Chase Connors of Durango 4th, and Thayer Ask of Boulder 5th with less than one minute between the top 5 riders.

***

Freshman Girls

Lucy Perkins, VSSA won the 2-lap race in a quick 1:00:55, a little more than 3 minutes ahead of second place. Perkins, who had a concussion at the beginning of the season, produced commanding wins as the season progressed.

Vail coach Dan Weiland commented after her Granby race, “We should’ve moved Lucy up to JV but with her concussion, at the beginning of the season we did not know what to expect so we erred on the side of safety for her.”

Scarlett Hardie Grand Junction

Hardie navigates a rock drop.

Freshman Girls Train

Freshman girls, Kaelyn Roberts, Golden, Sofia Reitz, Palisade, Izabelle Barney, Grand Junction.

Ava Langer Arma Dei Academy

Ava Langer, Freshman, Arma Dei Academy

Scarlett Hardie, Grand Junction took 2nd. Sofia Harcek of Golden placed 3rd as one of three excellent freshman girls for Golden, the other two racing JV. Nina Villafranco from Colorado Rocky Mountain School placed 4th and Laila Waldron from Nederland took 5th among 59 competitors.

Waldron surprised herself by improving steadily throughout the season which warranted an improvised search for a more appropriate race bike. Her coach Alison Powers laughed after Waldron’s Granby race as she recounted, “She started the season on a 30 plus pound enduro bike.”

***

San Luis Valley senior Chase McGee rode his final “Chase Race” on his motorized trike surrounded by his Rattler teammates on a modified course. The moment capped a high school career of resolve for the rider with cerebral palsy. It also marked his team’s stalwart accompaniment of their friend for 3 years.

Heading into the off-season and Thanksgiving, we are extremely thankful to all supporters of in-person racing in 2021 as the pandemic continues. We hope to see many alums and community members continue to share in the journey. In 2022, the Colorado League embarks on its 13th year of providing an exceptional experience that supports positive youth development from the saddle of a mountain bike.

Chase Race on Ramp

The final "Chase Race" with teammates escorted by Steamboat disco clad riders.

Varsity Sweep Trio

Varsity Sweep volunteers alums Riley Amos and Robbie Day with Nate Vacura Coach and constant volunteer.

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