Fort Lewis Climb

JV Boys climb past the Fort Lewis course crossing.

Golden Aspens Glow with 701 High School Racers at the Granby Ranch Round Up

Colorado League North Conference Race #3 Report

Contributed by Matt Muir and Gavin Thornton, Monarch JV Legacy racer.
Edited and produced by Kate Rau
Contact: Kate Rau, Colorado League Executive Director, 720.272.9282


The third of four North Conference races in the Colorado League took place on Sunday September 22, 2019 at Granby Ranch. This is the fourth year of the Granby Ranch Roundup. Granby was the first ski area to join the 10-year old series. They generously hosted convenient camping onsite and provided staff support to help the event go off without a hitch.

The total number of racers was 701 across four categories and both genders. On the same day in Snowmass, the Snowmassive Chase hosted another 623 South Conference racers who inaugurated the new Colorado League venue.

Perfect Colorado fall conditions were the backdrop for the day at Granby Ranch. Morning lows in the upper 30s rose steadily throughout the day but never got hot with a breeze in the quakies and pure azure sky outlining the changing aspen leaves along the ridges of the venue.

Doin it for Casey

This is the North Conference’s hardest course with 900 feet of climbing on the start lap that goes uphill from the start before turning into singletrack in a crucial hole-shot. Subsequent laps have 700 feet of climbing. The lack of any recent rain had finally taken its toll in the form of dusty conditions and powdery soils in places throughout the course.

The League’s first rule of “fun” was evident in the disco competition which seemed most fervently contested among parents who had unfair advantage in the form of first hand experience with disco and a little something from the back of their closets. Maire Sullivan of the Middle Park time coordinated a flash mob performance of "The Hustle" in honor of Varsity racer Casey Myers. He is recovering from an injury sustained in Steamboat. The choreography and accompanying disco glitter proved them the winners with Steamboat a very, very close second for this increasingly coveted spirit award.

Steamboat Girls Disco

Steamboat Coach Blair Seymour flanked by Rose Epstein and Elena Wittemyer.

Rack Starz

Spectators check out the Rack Starz display on a Toyota.

Thanks as always to League sponsors like title sponsor Your Hometown Toyota Stores. New 2019 sponsor RackStarz had a tricked out demo vehicle displaying the ease to head out for your next adventure. Alpine Bank, Wheat Ridge Cyclery mechanic in combination with SRAM neutral support stayed busy fixing all manner of issues.Centura Health Sports Medicine and Fort Lewis College are primary contributors to the program. Keep an eye out for the limited edition "Decade of Dirt" branded sunglasses by our good friends at Optic Nerve in Eagle.

For the second year in a row, legend Larry Grossman announced the race for hours on end with his sardonic wit and entertaining commentary, a la "LG style". He summed up his opinion in mid-commentary, “I think the League is great, it’s just great...a lot of that is because this is a team sport out here, there’s no bench.” Golden teammates Christopher Ziemann and Jackie Teteris, JV Legacy embraced the crisp morning to sing the National Anthem.

The day’s Toyota Slingshot awards went to four year Legacy rider Izzy Sargent of Battle Mountain going from 20th to 10th in Varsity Girls and Nicholas Tabares of Golden going from 50th to 5th in Varsity Boys compared to their previous races. Tabares flatted in his first race and missed the second but came back to achieve 5th in Granby, a big accomplishment in Varsity.

Sargent also won the Yeti skills challenge with the fewest dabs in her completion of the course. Malachi Seeling JV of Compass Montessori was the top for the boys with no dabs and the fastest time through the maze.

Gavin Thornton

Monarch JV Legacy rider Gavin Thornton digs deep for his best result.

Maxwell Lynch JV Boy Gold halter top

Boulder JV Legacy Maxwell Lynch went all out disco.

An insider perspective from Monarch JV Legacy rider Gavin Thornton:

"Sunday Morning, the venue is covered in spectators left and right as the Varsity girls stage. All the talk among them is similar; the course is dusty. Pre-riding is something I've always done, but not this time. 1 hour prior, I finish my peanut butter bagel and get dressed. Riding down from the parking lot, I crash, a cloud of dust shoots into the sky as I sweep across the ground. Mentally, I was now shattered. I was nervous around every corner I took on my warmup.

After I wrapped up my warmup, I downed a Honey Stinger gel, and taped two more on my bike, for laps two and three. This was the race that could qualify me for state. “Gavin Thornton, Monarch.” I would start in the 40’s, behind where I wanted to be. I lined up, directly behind teammate, Evan Wilson and I was ready to go. “15 seconds till start,” catching me off guard. There was a long road ahead, one that would prove to be a test of stamina, and the deciding factor for some as they would pop on the opening singletradk climb. Staying steady, I would move up to the 20’s through lap one. As lap two began, a sharp pain in my lower chest would emerge. Nearing the first downhill section covered in dust, fast paced descending, and spectators, literal tears were coming out of my eyes, and constant groans with every bump I hit. It felt like a broken rib. I made up my mind that I would drop out of the race after lap two.

Suddenly, coming to the finish from lap two, spectators roared with excitement and cheered us all on, an adrenaline rush shot through me, and I couldn't quit. I couldn't do that to myself. Insted, I caught up with another Daniel Morin from Ralston Valley. We rolled through the field, putting me in the 30 spot as I finished lap three. I washed my bike as the wash station, and reflected. I finished. This was the hardest race I had pushed through, by far. I learned something about myself today. This moment would carry me through other hardships to come. The support and audience at the race was too amazing to let them down, so I didn’t. I'm happy to say, this race went successfully, and was my best finish of the season. It wouldn't have happened without the organization, support, and audience the race crew put together, and of course, the Monarch Coaching staff."

Trio of Ralston Valley Riders

Ralston Valley, a team since 2010, JV boys celebrate their effort.

In the small school Division III team competition, it went Poudre in first with 7220 Laramie a mere two points ahead of Fossil Ridge, 1971 to 1969.

The Division II podium was Vail Ski And Snowboard Academy (VSSA) in taken the Gold, Rocky Mountain with a Silver, and Battle Mountain just barely beating sibling program Eagle Valley and not far ahead of Middle Park.

Summit took third in the large school Division I category with Fairview in second place. Boulder won the day with 115 racers led by a cadre of 9 Varsity girls and 11 Varsity boys. Both Boulder and Fairview have a hard to beat ability to not just field numbers of racers but racers in both genders and across all categories.

As teams prepare for the Conference Overall in Eagle the competition tends to heat up. There are many close contests with a 628 point spread between Division I East and Lakewood. Centaurus and Natrona County, WY have a 308 point gap with 246 points between Steamboat and VSSA for the closest Division II contest. The small and mighty Division III teams are vying for position with a scant 80 points between Poudre and Kelly Walsh, WY and 103 points separate Green Mountain and 7220 Laramie.

The conference finale will be an exclamation point to the series with many teams and riders jockeying for position while celebrating the season with a cacophony of noisemakers and roaring cheers.

Kimo Sullivan Middle Park

Kimo Sullivan, Varsity Legacy Middle Park rails the local trails.

Tea Wright on the downhill

Fairview Varsity Legacy rider, Tea Wright displays excellent descending skills.

The climbs and grades of the most selective course in the North Conference left no doubt in the girls' Varsity race. Boulder’s Legacy senior Maddi Munro rode unrivaled away from the field, well into the boys field that started ahead of her, and all the way to a solo first place. Fairview’s Legacy senior Ada Urist followed Munro for about a lap until she settled solitarily into the no-man’s-land gap that can feel haunted sometimes.

Meanwhile, independent Sofia Forney sat on sophomore Chloe Fraser of Boulder in third and fourth until attacking at the bottom of the switchback climbs. Because of the topography at Granby, Forney stated “I could actually see Ada and her body language looked like she was having a bad day so I stayed motivated to cross the gap. Then on the third lap I caught her and passed her on a downhill.” It was Forney’s highest finish, a second place and she retains the Primal Leader’s Jersey. Urist arrived in third and Fraser and Michaela Thompson of Boulder rounded out the podium

Wren Powers

Wren Powers, Independent Varsity flows above the Fraser River.

Sophia Forney

Sophia Forney, Independent Varsity Leader, tackles turns.

In Varsity Boys, Peyton Wilkerson of Estes Park took first place finishing four laps in 1:32:34 and ahead of Summit’s Lasse Konecny. Legacy rider Cooper Lull of Boulder had his best result ever out sprinting Oliver Boyd of Fairview for third. Nicholas Tabares of Golden completed the five person podium. Lucas Lenoch, Poudre beat Aiden Keller, Boulder by 0.13 seconds for 19th and 20th. These Legacy riders rode every lap in tandem.

Emblematic of the sporting nature of the League were Konecny’s comments, “I kinda stayed with Peyton for two laps, faded on the third lap, but by the fourth I was just surviving.” Pointing and smiling at Wilkerson who was grinning back at his rival, Konecny added “this kid can climb.” With his win, Wilkerson regains the Primal Leader’s Jersey with a 2-point advantage heading into Eagle.

Perfcect Handoff for Calvin VandenBurg Littleton

Calvin Vandenberg, JV Legacy, Littleton is spot on in the Honey Stinger feed zone.

Dakota Ridge JV Legacy

Dakota Ridge JV Legacy teammates Austin Hoflin, 2405 and Cole Hancock, 2073 cruise thru the aspen.

The JV boys is chock full with 18 Legacy riders who have participated since the were freshman. Maxwell Lynch, Boulder raced with flare and battled with Daniel Mornin, Ralston Valley. Morin eked past Lynch with a 0.42 second lead to take 31st.

Crucial to 7220 Laramie’s second place was “Speed Goat” Tristan Smith who put an end to the Vin Hludzinski show of Boulder in the JV Boys contest. Going into the third and final lap, Hludzinski and Chuck Jones of Boulder pedaled up the slog of a climb out of the start finish followed closely by Smith. Then, when everyone expected Hludzinski to make his trademark move, it was Smith who put in a flying surprise attack from third position on the brief downhill road segment. Smith proceeded to do what is easy to say but hard to do, “I just didn’t look back, I could hear them both behind me the whole lap but I just kept going.” Hludzinski holds onto the Primal Leader's jersey for the series.

Brian Elander, Dakota Ridge and Jack Seidler, Monarch Legacy rounded out the top 5 podiums.

7220 Laramie’s Isabel Naschold won the JV Girls race for the Speed Goats as well, a sweep in the category for the tough Wyoming competitors in the JV category. Victoria Uglyar, Summit keeps the Primal Leader's jersey racing to 2nd. Tianna Bruce, VSSA pushed to earn a Bronze. Darby Hendrix, Lakewood and Kiera Bond, Fairview roll into the conference finals tied for 3rd with 1008 points and they took 4th and 5th for the day.

Fairview teammates Arianna Soto and Roan Kidd paced one another until the finish where Soto pushed across the mat to gain a mere 0.24 seconds lead for 10th and 11th. As if the racing was not close enough Elyana Steinberg, Fairview and Dani Holt, Poudre had a spectacularly close finish with only 0.05 seconds between 20th and 21st.


Megan Bertrand Lakewood

Lakewood JV Legacy rider Megan Bertrand cruises on her Trek.

Sophomore Train

Jay Landers, Littleton Sophomore leads a pack up a climb.

The top three Sophomore girls were wheel to wheel with Rose Taylor from Boulder capturing her first victory of the season. Sofie Hill, Heritage keeps her Primal Leader's jersey racing to 2nd and Margo Church, Boulder completing this threesome. Isabel Derbes, Rocky Mountain squeezed past Mary Alyce Collins, Fossil Ridge by 2 seconds.

Boulder Sophomore Johnny Stanizone maintains his winning streak. This category has been quite consistent. Henry Moore, East, Mack Dorf, VSSA, Ben Ferree, Estes Park and Nick Boni, Centaurus keep climbing the podium steps with 2nd through 5th. Beckett McVoy, Boulder and Camden Burke, Fairview raced for 7th and 8th with a 2-second gap.

Freshman Golden

Golden Freshman, Kira Starick climbs through aspen grove.

Middle Park helps break down Maire

Maire Sullivan, Middle Park Coach logs many volunteer hours for their home race. Thank YOU!

Steamboat Freshman Caleb Haack had his second victory. Landon Stovall, VSSA earned the Leader's jersey in 2nd. Former points leader Kade Kreikemeier, Fort Collins was in hot pursuit for 3rd.

The Freshman girls podium was full of VSSA riders. Teammates Izzy Glackin place 2nd, Kyleena Lathram, 4th and Avery Forstl 5th. Ella Brown, Boulder won with Fairview's Elise Harless in 3rd.

The team contributions to race weekends is phenomenal. The Middle Park team delivered as the local team clocking 110 volunteer hours. Boulder volunteered for 86 and Lakewood 60. This level of community support is greatly appreciated by the race crew and is critical to enhance safety and event production.

Racing resumes for the South and North Conferences at a double race weekend and Conference Championships in Eagle on October 5th and 6th. Competition culminates at League Championships in Durango on October 19th and 20th.

Freshman Boys Podium w Caleb Hack Steamboat feeling Disco

Freshman Podium with Caleb Haack, Steamboat grooving.


2019 CO Footer Final 5.2.2019
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