2018 COHS Nathrop South venue-2830-X2

Members of the Buena Vista High School band and mountain bike team perform the National Anthem.

Historic McMurry Ranch Hosts Herd of Energetic High School Riders

Colorado League Race #3 South Report

by Michelle Jensen and Kate Rau
Contact: Kate Rau, Colorado League Director,, 720.272.9282

South Results

On Sunday, September 23rd, 580 high school mountain bikers gathered at the historic McMurry Ranch along Chalk Creek. Mount Princeton provides a stunning backdrop to the historic family ranch that has hosted 29 mountain bike race events. Many participants exclaimed, “This is the most beautiful venue.” The Colorado League is extremely fortunate to be guests on this private custom race course. The McMurry family generously shared their property for the inaugural race in 2010 and many consecutive years.

The heat and drought added a challenging element to the 6.1-mile course with 520 feet of elevation gain per lap. The gracious hosts soaked the start area between start waves to mitigate the dust as riders sped off the line. The course had a variety of terrain with a twisty rocky climb at the beginning, across scenic plateaus, winding through junipers, to a challenging descent into a cottonwood grove along Chalk Creek. Some felt it was more technical with the variance of terrain and the sand added another element.

Legacy Buckle Wood

Riders started claiming their commemorative legacy belt buckles for those who raced at least one race every year of their high school career. Alma Wolf is recovering from a serious knee injury and rode for the first time this season. She has attended most of the races to support her team.

Wolf shared, "Being at the venue and cheering means so much to me. I'm going to miss the incredible environment of races. I couldn't be more grateful for everything this program has given me. I have absolutely loved racing with the Colorado League throughout my high school career. Some of my happiest and most proud moments have come from these races." Wolf's Varsity points along contributed to Animas's second place Division 2 team position.

Jack Rotter and Varsit Boys

Varsity Legacy racers Jack Rotter, Columbine and Jayden Hakala, Highlander.

Alma Wolf in the Woods

Alma Wolf, Legacy Varsity, Animas flowing along the creek.

JV rider, Cassie Hickey, Independent, and Varsity rider Robbie Day, Evergreen, earned the Toyota Slingshot awards. Hickey took fourth place behind Heidi Martin, Manitou Springs in a fierce sprint at the line in the 47-person field. Day a 10th grader, moved to Varsity in Leadville, and he took home a Bronze in Nathrop in front of Camden Gillis, Salida.

The weekend's "Posh Pit" contest was resplendent with a range of themes. Dakota Ridge had "Gourd-eous" theme with an array of squash and gourds hanging from their tent. The Cheyenne Mountain team relaxed in cozy bathrobes and couches while distributing chocolate lollipops branded with bicycles. Race crew judges were lobbied with smoothies made with a bike-powered blender from Taos and massages from Crested Butte.

Team Evergreen knew that committing to the race they would miss their Homecoming Dance. The “Night Under the Stars” theme earned them the win. Zach Footer informed the crew that POSH stands for, Port Out Starboard Home and was a way sailors kept their passengers happy with pleasant views from all sides going both directions.

Legacy JV in the woods

Justin Carr, JV Legacy, Mountain Vista flies through the trees.

JV Legacy Boy

Brian Sheahan, JV Legacy, STEM Highlands Ranch.

The Division 1 team trophy went to Salida, hometown powerhouse, surpassing the top team Cheyenne Mountain, by 47 points for the first time this season. Evergreen held to their third place podium streak by a mere 51 points over Chatfield. Salida's victory was earned from the wheels of 12 female racers from every category. This is definitely a record across both conferences for a Division 1 team. Columbine had 8 female point earners the second most for this division.

Division 2 regulars Durango and Animas continue to hold on to the top 2 spots with Highlander Composite nipping at their heels. There are only 177 points between Animas and Highlander going into the Conference Championships in Eagle on October 6th.

Thunder Ridge stepped up to the podium in third for the first time this season in the competitive Division 3 small team category. Local Buena Vista took Silver, as they have been third the past two races. Montrose maintained their lead with only 35 points ahead of Buena Vista.

Abby Inman, JV racer, initiated the inspiration for Thunder Ridge’s boost to the podium. Coach Roger Ryburn said, "During our Friday practice Abby told the team that they can get on the podium as they placed 4th by only 197 points behind Taos in Leadville. She motivated everyone all day to dig deep. It paid off." Inman was the top scorer for the team riding to 5th for the day.

The Conference Championships' team competition will certainly be exciting with Glenwood Springs only 101 points ahead of CRMS for fifth and sixth in the Division 2 team contest. Buena Vista and Taos Composite head to Eagle with only 14 points separating second and third in Division 3.

2018 COHS Nathrop South jvboys-4538-X3

Glenwood Springs Coach Randy Tuggle celebrates with JV rider Lance Weidemann.

SB Train climb

Sophomore boys on the first climb.

Ruth Holcomb, Durango continues to dominate the Varsity field as a 10th grader. Her teammate and 2017 Varsity Champion, Maddie Jo Robbins, started but did not finish due to a chronic, serious wrist injury. Robbins spent the day working the Feed Zone and cheering on her teammates. Sage Davis, Animas earned the Silver for the second time in the series. Kennedy Scott, Rock Canyon moved from 6th in Leadville to third for the day. Ellie Malfeld, Highlander Composite and Paige Hauptman, Montrose rounded out the talented field of 23 riders.

Columbine twin sisters, Kira, and Teegan Cordova raced together and there is a 6-point spread between their current overall points for 10th and 11th. Familiar podium finisher Taegan Steinfort, Cheyenne Mountain was plagued with a mechanical. Steinfort is trailing by 3 points behind Kennedy heading into the Conference Championships.

The highly competitive Varsity boys' field was pushed by overall leader Riley Amos, Animas as Cobe Freeburn, Durango worked hard to stay on his wheel. Robbie Day, Evergreen rode to third. The big contention was between Camden Gillis, Salida, and Jack Rotter, Columbine who sprinted hard to place fourth and fifth respectively. The photo finish was between Cole Stevens, Columbine and Maxwell Mirk, Highlander with Stevens a mere 0.37 seconds ahead. Glenwood Springs Legacy racer Lucca Trapani did not finish and was missed on the podium for the first time after his victory in Leadville.

Abby Inman Thunder Ridge

Abby Inman, JV, Thunder Ridge focuses in the start chute.

Cassidy Gillis Salida

Cassidy Gillis, Sophomore, Salida pedals through puddle.

JV Leader Mia Aseltine, Chatfield remains undefeated while Abbey Shepard, Animas, and Heidi Martin, Manitou Springs continue to bring Silver and Bronze. Aseltine graciously cheers her competitors during the call-ups and humbly greets them at the finish. Arapahoe racer Margaret Foa held off Salida racer Olivia Kelley and was happy to maintain a top ten finish. Grace Babcock, Cheyenne Mountain, placed 16th despite a crash before the technical downhill and loved riding through the trees.

The sun was high and hot as 144 JV boys took off for 3 laps. Eli Bennett, Manitou Springs captured the Primal Leader's jersey from Evan Gattis, Gunnison. Kawak Miranda, Glenwood Springs worked hard to stay in front of Aidan Ruth, Evergreen. Erik Novy, Glenwood Springs, Austin Bruce, Manitou Springs and Makena Likewise, Fountain Valley celebrated a bunch sprint for fourth, fifth and sixth. Likewise modestly admitted that the course did not suit his strengths as his final sprint with Bruce was very difficult.

Fans lined the Toyota finish line and cheered on all the competitors. Carter Giles, Chatfield, was more pleased with his effort once his coach pointed out that his 12th place was his best finish of the season. Buena Vista racer, Malachi Little, said he felt he made improvement from Leadville by increasing eighteen places. The home turf advantage definitely helped.

2018 COHS Natrop SOUTH volunteers-4061

Sophomore Tristan Newell, Castle View fixes his bike, guided by volunteer Vincent Davis.

Tristan Newell

Tristan is back in the race - mission accomplished.

Thorin Howell, High Desert Composite remains undefeated for the series in the Sophomore boys. Zach Footer, Evergreen is 30 points back in the overall standings consistently taking second every race. Tyler Johnson, and Carter Alanis from Cheyenne Mountain race to third and fourth. Cole Pierce, Palisade was 5th. These sophomore boys have become familiar with their top call-up positions throughout the season. Pierce is 7 points of Alanis as they head to Eagle. Close conference individual standings, such as this, puts increased importance on the 25-point bonus for completing all four races.

Sophomore Tristan Newell, Castle View had a rough start, as he was involved in a crash out of the chute. He was jumping on and off his bike frustrated that it was not shifting properly, which interfered with climbing a rocky hill. Vincent Davis a loyal volunteer roving course marshal asked Newell if he had a tool. Newell was prepared and Davis calmly coached Newell how to adjust his rear derailleur. The fans were impressed by Newell's mechanical accomplishment with verbal coaching by Davis and he joyfully hopped on his bike to finish his race.

Durango Sophomore Aleah Austin raced to her third victory and will line up in Eagle wearing her well-worn Primal Leader's jersey. She loved the downhill and turned it on, for the second lap. Alyssa Leifer, Evergreen, and Beth Schwartz, Gunnison were second and third. Kelsey Nicholson, Durango, and Kelsey Gillis, Salida rounded out the podium. Nicholson and Gillis both have brothers who are Varsity Legacy riders. Schwartz was super motivated to dig deep as she could see first and second for most of the race. She said, "Wow! It was really hard and I had so much fun.”

SB Start

Sophomores, Thorin Howell, 4110, Zach Footer, Tyler Johnson, Cole Pierce jump off the start.

Freshman girls Lauren Aggeler, Durango and Emma Barsness, Glenwood Springs lined up tied for the overall lead. Sarah Bivens, Crested Butte was elated at her performance keeping a trio of Durango racers at bay. Bivens will wear the Primal Leader's jersey in Eagle as the new overall leader.

Replicating the Freshman girls, there was a tie between Durango Ian Kutzleb and Colby Simmons. Simmons was absent leaving Kutzleb to claim the overall lead. Teammate Ivan Sippy took the victory for the day and was surrounded by a crowd of cheering fans at the finish. Arapahoe racer, Steven Truesdale, took the Bronze. Riley Jaber, Durango and Nathan Gangelhoff rode to fourth and fifth.

Ethan Nejame Zeiset, Salida, was the first finisher of the B wave and placed 28th after being staged 91st. Jack Shalz, Douglas County raced for the first time and placed 29th after starting at 124th. These dogged riders prove that racing against the clock and safely passing everyone reaps rewards.

Fountain Valley’s rider Kevin He competed in his first mountain bike race ever. He is from Shanghai, China where there are no mountains. Kevin was interested to try something new. He was very excited about the new sport and plans to keep racing.

Sophie Russo Freshman Littleton

Sophia Russo, Freshman, Littleton strongly climbs.

Conifer Freshman

Freshmen Ben Yenter, Conifer and Owen Bockenthien, Columbine.

The North Conference held its third of four races at Granby Ranch, Colorado, also on September 23rd. Complete results for all races and for all categories are available at Colorado League or RaceRite.

The Leadville Race Series loaned the Colorado League equipment necessary to host a dual race weekend. Optic Nerve was busy representing the newest line of sunglasses. Western State Colorado University and Colorado Mountain College shared their unique academic and athletic offerings with the crowd.

The North and South Conference Championships take place in Eagle, Colorado on the Haymaker Course on October 6th and 7th, 2018.

Durango hosts the overall League Championship on October 21-22 on a brand new, purpose-built course constructed by Trails 2000. Thanks to many community members and organizations led by Gaige Sippy, Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and Moira Compton, Durango Mesa Manager.

Alpine Bank is funding three $500 travel scholarships teams for the State Championships. Applications due by October 17th apply HERE.

Awards Crowd

Colorful crowd at awards.


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


2018 CO Footer Final
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