Sanders: MPHS mountain bike club, first race results
Our Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club had their first race of the Colorado High School League Saturday, August 27 in Frisco. For many it was their first ever mountain bike race. We should all be very proud of their accomplishments. Not only did they come in 8th out of 16 teams but they were 2nd place in the Spirit Award!!! Not a bad start for the season!
Fortunately the weather cooperated with warm temperatures and dry conditions.
The Colorado High School Mountain Bike League race courses are designed so that every skill level can accomplish the course. The ability level of the league racers range from the very high-end approaching world class to those who have only begun to mountain bike this year. The resulting courses are not only fun to ride but fun to race as well.
Our racers were both excited and a bit nervous which is normal at any competitive event. These races attract a lot of racers. Last year the average number of racers at each event was over 800. Races are split up in multiple start times so that the number of racers for any start time or field is rarely over 50. Still, taking off with 50 racers can be a bit nerve racking. There is the feeling of the heart pumping and your hands start to sweat as the start official begins the countdown. Soon you hear 5 4 3 2 1 GO! and they are off! Starts can be fast a furious. This was no different.
Our racers rode up a paved road to a slight climb before reaching the first trail. The race course consisted of rolling two-track and single track but no mountain bike course is absent of climbs, after all it is mountain biking. Climbs that seemed easy when pre-riding on Friday take on a new level of difficulty when you are riding hard. Everyone of our athletes rode at their limit but within their abilities. That is one of the hardest things as an athlete to do. Crowds lined the 6.25 mile course shouting excitement, ringing cowbells and encouraging everyone on course. Each lap came through the “Pit Zone” area that is full of team tents as well as the support crew which when added up exceeds the number of racers! You would have thought you were at the Olympics when the fans started to cheer the riders as they crested the final hill and descended the switch backs to the finish line or to go out on the next lap.
Give our athletes a big thanks next time you see them. Tyler Scholl, Nelson Oxley, Aaron Sanders, Kimo Sullivan, Brendan Droll and Will Cleveland represented the sophomore boys. Darby Howard raced the sophomore girls and Emma LaDue raced freshman girls. Eric Wettersten was our lone junior athlete.
The Colorado High School Mountain Bike League is not all about winning but participation and team spirit. Our team was 2nd place in the Team Spirit Award. They did a great job expressing our enthusiasm and showing our Mountain Bike Capital USA pride!
Granby Ranch will host the Colorado High School Mountain Bike League on September 24 and 25. This promises to be the most challenging race of the year for the league. Long climbs and classic Colorado singletrack will test each athletes endurance and ability. Our Middle Park team will race on Saturday, September 24. Mark your calendars and come out to cheer the team on! If you want to help out and volunteer you can sign up at http://www.coloradomtb.org, after all what event doesn’t need volunteers.
Beavers Sports Shop does a weekly group mountain bike ride every Friday at 6 pm from Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Winter Park. The ride is open to anyone of intermediate ability and above. The pace and type of trails are determined by the group. Come join us! Call 970-726-5988 for more info.
Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber! Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week’s column: WTB ride, be prepared for emergencies
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