Winter Park biker sweeps Colorado Freeride Festival
If you made it to the Colorado Freeride Festival at Trestle Bike Park last weekend, you probably heard the name Jacqueline Thomas.
The 25-year-old Winter Park native cleaned house in the women’s pro field, winning the Air Downhill, Super Downhill, Trestle Downhill and USA Cycling Colorado State Championships.
Two weeks ago, Thomas placed second in the women’s pro downhill at the USAC 2015 Mountain Biking Nationals in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Thomas, who works at Le Feet Lab in Winter Park with her father, Jacques, is the first woman to ride on Trestle Bike Park’s home team.
Of the four races Thomas dominated over the weekend, the Super Downhill was probably the most grueling, she said.
“It was definitely the most challenging race because it’s so long and exhausting,” Thomas said.
The race, which runs from the top of Trestle to the base area, was one of the longest Thomas will ride this year, she said.
“The top part is the most technical because it’s so flat and rooty and rocky,” Thomas said. “I was so exhausted before I even got to the downhill part.”
Thomas said that once she reached the downhill section of the race, her focus shifted to “staying strong and not crashing.”
Thomas held it together, beating second place finisher Jill Behlen by 45 seconds.
Her stiffest competition of the weekend came on Sunday during the state championships.
Professional biker Rebecca “Becky” Gardner, who finished one spot behind Thomas in the national championships, once again gave her a run for her money.
Thomas beat Gardner by 18 seconds.
“It’s exciting to win, but it’s better to have competition like Becky there,” Thomas said. “She’s really sweet.”
Thomas conceded that she would have liked some stiffer competition in the weekend’s other events.
“It’s hard because I knew that there are other girls that should be here racing but they’re doing other things right now,” Thomas said.
For now, Thomas said she is focusing on completing the 2015 Trestle Gravity Series in Winter Park.
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Due to current public health guidance, there will not be an in-person wilderness campsite lottery for Rocky Mountain National Park this year.