Lake Varsity Boys

William Greig, Longmont Varsity Legacy rider attacks a descent above Lake Dillion.

Over 700 High School Mountain Bikers Kick Off a Decade of Dirt at Frisco Bay Invitational

Colorado League North Conference Race #1 Report

Contributed by Matt Muir, edited and produced by Kate Rau
Contact: Kate Rau, Colorado League Director,, 720.272.9282


The “Decade of Dirt” began on August 25th in earnest for the North Conference of the Colorado High School Mountain Bike League with the 5th Annual Frisco Bay Invitational. Thanks to sponsors and supporters like title sponsor Toyota, the Colorado League entered the tenth year of building strong minds, bodies, and character through inclusivity and equality.

Frisco’s Peninsula Recreation Area hosted 733 racers from Colorado and Wyoming while another 639 South Conference racers from Colorado and New Mexico competed in Nathrop on the same day. At the awards ceremony, Frisco Town Council Person, Hunter Mortensen thanked the crowd and shared news of new mountain bike trails to be built in time for the 2020 event. Frisco is a steadfast partner, and embraces the growth and size of the Colorado League. Additional, community support is provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Dillon Ranger District, Summit County Open Space and Trails, and the Dillon Reservoir Recreation District.

Toyotal Vehicle

Presenting sponsor Your Hometown Toyota Stores along with Yeti Cycles and Optic Nerve Eyewear in the expo.

Better Boyer

Freshman Harris Cardosi, Boulder, celebrates his first race with veteran Coach Ben Boyer.

The sunny, breezy day and dusty course felt dry but not compared to previous years’ bone-dry, drought conditions. Many riders were able to carry their speed into corners and surf over the moderate braking bumps on the rolling course characterized by ball-bearing-marbly surfaces throughout the six-mile loop.

The day opened with the National Anthem sung by local Victoria Uglyar of tiger striped Summit. Uglyar went on to take second place in the JV girls’ race. The lucky Volunteer of the Day was JB Brockman, Boulder High who is a constant in the Course Marshal ranks. Casper, Wyoming’s CAMBYR/Kelly Walsh program won the day’s best sock spirit competition proving that those tough cowgirls and cowboys have to wear something under their boots.

Monarch group above the lake

Monarch, established in 2010, Sophomores get race strategy tips.

Ralston Valley Patrick Poster

Ralston Valley, an original team, shows cornering skills of alum and Coach Patrick Stolper.

Ten years ago, 142 racers lined up at the start for the very first race at the McMurry Ranch in Nathrop. A total of 205 riders participated in the 2010 season. Today, the Boulder Panthers alone have 140 members with 40 girls who by themselves are nearly twice the size of an average team. Credit goes to Head Coach Ben Boyer who has been with the League since the beginning and, in cycling crazy Boulder, insists on cycling sanity, inclusivity, and positivity that account for the broad range of abilities on his team.

Freshman Boys Staging

Freshman boys' category experienced the most growth with 172 starters for the North Conference.

Coaches are essential to the organization as they create a culture of competitive camaraderie, support all abilities, and foster a kindred atmosphere in a sport where all are allowed to race. At least 22 dedicated coaches, 12 from the North, and 16 teams, 8 from each conference have participated every year since 2010. Volunteers who have tirelessly contributed to the mission include Steve Bussey, Shelly Franklin, Walt Lee, Rob Noble, and Stephanie Ouren. The Colorado League is extremely grateful for the expert onsite medical services provided by Event Medical Specialists since day one.

South High joined the party for the first time. Several teams shuffled from the South conference to the North including Dakota Ridge, Heritage, Littleton and Denver Academy. Ralston Valley and Silver Creek joined the ranks of the Division 1 teams. Many teams experienced a substantial increase in participation since 2018.

Mark and Andy

Battle Mountain Coach Mark Nesline and Rocky Mountain Coach Andy Clark congratulate one another.

Stargate Socks

Stargate Academy adorned their team tent with socks.

In the small school Division III team competition, Fossil Ridge took first followed by Kelly Walsh from Wyoming and Poudre in third who eked by its neighbor Fort Collins in fourth by only 36 points.

VSSA beat out its sibling program and training partner Battle Mountain while Rocky Mountain rounded out the three teams on the Division II podium.

Hometown Summit beat out Golden to earn the third spot on the Division I team podium. Second went to the Fairview Knights who registered 69 total racers on the day. Boulder won the day, in part, due to sheer numbers with its 119 registered racers.

Game Face Girls lead by Sofia Gibiete

Sofia Gibete, Sophomore Dakota Ridge charges up hill.

Vail Mustache

Vail continues a 10 year tradition of sporting sharpie drawn facial hair. Rule #1 is FUN!

The girls’ Varsity race was won by Tai-Lee Smith of Summit. Going through the first of three laps, a group of five rode together when, as Smith said, “Sofia [Forney] made a sprinting attack up the short hard hill out of the feed zone and I went with her but then she flatted. I didn’t think I’d stay away alone but I did.” Forney (independent) adroitly nursed her flat with CO2 in order to finish the race in second ahead of Olivia Cummins of Rocky Mountain followed by Elliote Muir and Anna Katnik of Boulder. A three-person sprint between Opal Konig, Summit and Boulder teammates Annika Boyer, and Ella Johnson thrilled the crowd as the pushed for 10th through 12th.

Estes Park’s Peyton Wilkerson won the boys' Varsity race confirming what many observed to be the most measured start of the four-lap boys varsity race they’d ever seen, “it was kinda weird, on the second lap the group was still talking to each other so I decided to put in a probing attack and only a few others went with me and then on laps three and four I was able to get away and stay clear on my own.” Lasse Konecny of Summit, Aiden Duffy of Eagle, Ryan Campbell of Golden, and Liam Clevenger of VSSA followed in that order.

Varsity Finish Izzy Aiden

Izzy Sargent, Varsity, Battle Mountain and Aiden Duffy, Eagle Valley celebrate at finish line.


Maya Altland, Kelly Walsh, from Casper, WY cranks above Dillon Lake.

Nail biting sprints included Connor Logan, Golden, Cooper Lull, Boulder and Ethan Ash, East for 7th through 10th while Nash Lucas, VSSA, Cole Weathers, Eagle Valley and Aiden Keller, Boulder battled to the mat for 26th through 28th place.

Rachel Katzmann of Casper, Wyoming/Kelly Walsh embodied the best of the League with her JV girls' effort which left her crumpling to the ground in the finish chute until she could catch her breathe. She rode her own race, as hard as she could that day, regardless of her place. Boulder’s Chloe Fraser won the JV girls' race and her teammate Vin Hludzinski won the JV boys’ race.

Barrett Summit

Barrett Wagenseil, JV Summit tackles a hill.

East Legacy JV

Griffin Bezek, JV Varsity, East focuses on cornering.

Sophie Hill of Heritage won the Sophomore girls' race. Boulder’s Johnny Stanzione won the sophomore boys race after missing his call up and being sent to the back for riding up outside the barriers at a second call-up before the start. As League Director Kate Rau often says, “There are many teachable moments where kids can make mistakes in a safe environment. They accept them, we all learn, and move on.”

Grit and determination are exhibited throughout the categories. The 1 second difference between Sammy Davison, Rocky Mountain and Penny Jensen Boulder for 18th and 19th is a shining example of the tenacity among the Sophomore girls.

Ella Brown, Boulder won the Freshman girls' race and Fort Collins’ Kade Kreikemeier took the boys’ race.

Eric Graham Lakwood Principal Dan Mock

Lakewood Coach Eric Graham and Principal Dan Bock.

Yeti Skills Zone 1

Dakota Ridge rider tackles the Yeti Cycles Skill Thrill Zone.

Throughout the day riders honed their skills in the new Yeti Cycles Skills challenge course. Toby Hassett, Varsity Golden and Caleb Haack, Freshman Steamboat zipped through the maze flawlessly. We encourage girls to lay down some impressive passes through the course in Steamboat at race #2.

Lakewood High Principal, Daniel Bock spent a few hours to witness the buzz for the first time. He commented, "I was blown away by the sheer number of tents, sponsors, family members, fans, and most importantly student racers! The number of competitors, the seriousness of their competitive spirit, and their communal commitment to the sport was astounding. Yes, each athlete was competing against others but also competing against him or herself. The combination of team and individual competition provided an amazing avenue for teamwork and individual grit. I was very impressed by all of the teams lined up against the barriers madly cheering with cow bells and noisemakers for their teammates but also other teams. Truly, it was an amazing communal event. This is the pinnacle of sport – teamwork, competition, and individual growth."

Full and live results for all categories are always available at HERE. Thanks to RACERITE for many years of professional timing and results.

The North Conference heads to Steamboat Springs on September 8th. The South Conference races on the same day at the Cloud City Challenge at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville.

Frisco Venue Shot

Buffalo Mountain provides a stunning backdrop.


2019 CO Footer Final 5.2.2019
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