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Side track keeps Air Force recruit Ella Johnson on the home front as assistant Demons XC coach

Ella Johnson gave thought to the risk when she decided to close out her senior year at Glenwood Springs High School playing soccer and making a bid for another shot at a 4A state track meet podium finish.

Johnson, who was recruited last fall to run track and cross country for the Air Force Academy, was right on track in late April, having qualified to race in the 3200 meters and as a member of the Lady Demons’ 4×800 relay team at the May 19-21 Colorado High School Track and Field Championships.

She would have been a top contender, having placed fourth at state in the 3200 her junior year and helping that year’s 4×800 relay team to a third-place medal.

Johnson was just returning from a backpacking trip with her outdoor education class on April 26, when she made the decision to meet up with her dad, Erik Johnson, in Fruita so they could drive to a soccer game in Montrose that had major playoff implications.

“I wasn’t even supposed to play,” she recalls. “But we made it just before halftime, and I got into the game.”

With about 2 minutes left to play, Johnson was dribbling the ball downfield when it rolled a little too far in front of her.

“I stepped with my left leg to try to maintain control, and my knee hyperextended,” she said.

An MRI a couple of days later confirmed her worst fear — a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“I was a little bit worried, just with the craziness of the schedule, and also the risk of being injured,” Johnson said of her decision to continue as a dual-sport athlete, which she had done in her previous spring seasons at GSHS.

“When I talked to my coach at the Air Force Academy, he said that I’ll never get another chance to play soccer again, and so he encouraged it,” she said. “And I wasn’t ready to let it go yet, either. So I was happy that I got to play one last time.”

She navigated having to miss track practices by running and training on her own so she could stay in top track form.

When she hurt her knee, her immediate thought was not being able to go to the Air Force Academy as planned, where she had already been accepted. The injury was an automatic medical disqualification for her cross country and track commitment, at least for the coming year, so she decided to wait a year and reapply for admission to the military academy starting in 2023-24.

“When it all began to settle in, that’s when I was worried that my soccer team wouldn’t be able to make it to the playoffs, and that I wouldn’t be able to end my soccer career on a good note, and that I wouldn’t get to go to state for track,” she said. “That was a bummer, but long term it was more about the future.”

Johnson is now planning to take a part-time load of online classes through Brigham Young University so she gets a jump on her academic credits but doesn’t lose a year of athletics eligibility, while keeping an eye toward being readmitted to the AFA.

She’s also undergoing intensive physical therapy so she can resume her commitment to the Falcons cross country and track teams.

In the meantime, she approached GSHS head cross country coach Aidan Goldie about helping to coach the Demons this fall and was added to the roster of assistant coaches.

“I thought it would be a good way to stay involved,” Johnson said. “My dad has been a soccer coach since I was little, so coaching has been in the family, and I always thought I would want to do it at some point. So this is just a little introduction to that.”

Goldie was happy to have her continue as part of the team.

“Even when I was coaching Ella, she was already like the fourth coach on our team just based on her leadership skills and the respect she had among her teammates,” Goldie said.

Since she’s not too far removed from her own preps experience, she figures she may have some advice for those who might want to consider running in college — and whether it’s a good idea to double-up with two sports in a season. 

“I would still do it over again,” Johnson said. “I just love both sports too much to not do them both. 

“But it is critical that (student-athletes) have good time management and know that your injury risk might increase because you’re doing a lot of training all the time. A lot of it is just making sure that you’re recovering properly and doing all that you can to prevent any injuries from coming up.”

Goldie agreed with that approach.

“From a coaches’ perspective, I always look at it as I’m coaching the human first, the student second and the runner third,” he said. “Whatever makes them happiest; I just want to be able to support their goals and dreams the best I can.”

Johnson said she also looks forward to coaching some of the athletes she helped mentor the past few seasons as a teammate. 

Practices for most fall sports officially began this week, as school is set to start Aug. 17 for the Roaring Fork Schools. The Demons boys and girls cross country teams open the season at the Grand Junction Central Warrior Invitational on Aug. 20.

The Glenwood Demon XC Invitational also returns this season, set for Sept. 17 at the CMC-Spring Valley Gates Soccer Fields complex. And Glenwood Springs is due to host the 4A Regionals on Oct. 20 at a location to be determined.


Vidakovich column: Get ready for a pair of running adventures, both for good causes

Push It Up for Pyro

This coming Saturday, Aug. 13, the annual Pyro’s Push it Up Trail Run & Walk will be held on the West Elk Trail north of New Castle. The race is run each year at this time in honor of former New Castle resident and U.S. Air Force Capt. William “Pyro” DuBois, who passed away while defending our country when his F-16 crashed in the Middle East on Dec. 1, 2014.

There are three distances on the Pyro’s menu for runners and walkers to choose from. The easiest, and the most beginner friendly, is the 3.5- kilometer family event that takes place primarily on an undulating jeep road.

Next up is the more challenging 7.7K (roughly 5 miles), which features jeep roads and single track trails. Appealing to the more hard core mountain trail runners is the 13K (8 miles) “Double Down” on rugged and steep terrain that will challenge even the fittest of human mountain goats.

Will DuBois was born on Aug. 14, 1984, and the former senior class president of Rifle High School always enjoyed celebrating his birthday in the area of the Flat Tops where the races will take place. His mother, Donna DuBois, said there was no place her son preferred more than to be up in the beauty and serenity of the mountains with his family on his birthday, hence the reason for the location and the date of the trail races.

“Family held the highest priority in his life,” said Donna. “He made everyone around him better. I was a better person having him as my son.”

Capt. DuBois had a motto that he lived by, “Moderation is for Cowards.” His father, Ham DuBois, echoes those sentiments when he talks about his son.

“He was the best man I ever knew. He lived life to the fullest. He lost his life being a hero.”

Will graduated from the University of Colorado aerospace engineering program with honors. Proceeds from the Pyro’s Trail Races will go to help aspiring Air Force ROTC cadets fulfill their goal of becoming an aviator through the Pyro’s Wings Scholarship Fund.

The cost for any of the three races is $35, and you can register by visiting the website at pyroswings.com. You can also register on race morning. If you are not able to make it to the race in person on Saturday, you can run virtually from anywhere in the world by registering at the race website.

Ham Dubois will get all three races going with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Please plan on staying for the big barbecue and awards that follow the conclusion of the races.

You won’t find a more beautiful spot to spend a morning getting some exercise and hanging out with friends from our communities.

Dog Days of August

The following Saturday, on Aug. 20, there is another race that is near and dear to my heart in Glenwood Springs at Two Rivers Park.

The annual Dog Day 5K will be run on an out and back course on the Rio Grande Trail, and all proceeds will go to help support the wonderful animals and people at Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE).

I have three cats, and two of them came from local shelters, with the third, “Houdini,” appearing and disappearing from my back door as a little kitten, until I finally got her inside and convinced her to stay. That was about 10 years ago.

On Aug. 5, I celebrated the 12th anniversary of going down to the Rifle Animal Shelter to pick up my three-legged cat Charlotte. We have been the best of friends since day one, and I can’t imagine life without her.

I have always had a soft spot for animals, so this race has been one that I mark on my calendar each year. Hopefully the folks from CARE will welcome a big crowd on Aug. 20 to help their efforts in providing homes for so many animals in the valley.

You can register by visiting the CARE website or on race morning beginning at 8 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m. near the gazebo at Two Rivers Park.

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at PostIndependent.com.

New Castle’s Rides & Reggae event brings out trail runners and mountain bikers alike

Mountain bikers and trail runners converged Saturday morning at New Castle’s VIX Ranch Park for the annual Rides & Reggae Festival, which featured two competitions, the Dirty Dozen 10K trail race and 20-mile mountain bike race.

Both events were held on the extensive trail network to the north of Castle Valley Ranch, and proceeds from the races and the concert event are going to help the New Castle Trails Group and Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association build a new trail network on Burning Mountain west of town.

Fifty-nine runners and 65 mountain bikers lined up for the two races, including seven competitors who did both events.

Winning the trail event were Watkins Fulk-Gray and, for the women, Cessair McKinney, who placed fifth overall.

The top mountain bikers were Cameron Brenneman in the overall top spot, and Kathryn Armstrong among the female competitors.

Following are the top 10 finishers in each event (*denotes female finisher):

10K trail run

  1. Watkins Fulk-Gray, 48 minutes, 23 seconds
  2. Tristan Purdy, 48:42
  3. Nico Plume, 49:29
  4. Bernie Boettcher, 49:47
  5. Cessair McKinney*, 50:31
  6. Quinn Harnett, 53:04
  7. Trevor Gerber, 55:54
  8. Steven Fuller, 58:04
  9. Bob Byrum, 59:01
  10. Anne Swanson*, 59:14

20M mountain bike race

  1. Cameron Brenneman, 1 hour, 54 minutes, 36 seconds
  2. Butch Peterson, 1:57:51
  3. Chris Brandt, 2:02:20
  4. Larry Smith, 2:08:13
  5. Colby Lash, 2:10:50
  6. Chad Kittles, 2:11:36
  7. Patrich Tevenan, 2:11:44
  8. Kyle Crawley, 2:12:04
  9. Trevor Gerber, 2:16:20
  10. Shae Sallee, 2:17:03

Combined run/bike

  1. Trevor Gerber
  2. Tristan Purdy
  3. Quinn Harnett
  4. Steven Fuller
  5. Nico Plume
  6. Jud Lang
  7. Kevin Kehm

On the Fly column: ‘What are they biting on?’

The most often-asked question in a fly shop is, “What’s hatching out there?”  Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, the answer can be slightly complicated (in a good way). From the ice-cold and pH-balanced Fryingpan to the Crystal, Roaring Fork and everything in between, we are blessed with incredible insect life around here. The answer to the hatch question is best answered by which stream, river or lake the angler is inquiring about.

On the Fryingpan, there is a plethora of bugs hatching through summer.  Mayflies varying from size 10 to 20 are ever-present, consisting of green drakes, pale morning duns, red quills, baetis and plenty of others. Be prepared to encounter caddis in smaller sizes, midges, craneflies, yellow sallies and some terrestrials also. Most people find the Fryingpan to be a bit technical through summer, so be prepared with exact imitations and light tippets to fool these “smart” fish.

The Roaring Fork boasts very good hatches of drakes, yellow sallies, caddis and pale morning duns, with plenty of other bugs mixed in. Many find the crowds to be lighter on these bigger rivers and the fish to be a bit less selective, although personal perception is reality, as they say. The upper reaches of these rivers are best waded and the lower floated. The Crystal has all of these same hatches and is definitely the river to fish if you despise the two-legged hatch.

Most of our lakes have quite a bit of insect life varying from callibaetis, chironomids, scuds and especially damselflies. Not all “trout food” in lakes comes from the water, so keep beetles, ants and especially flying ants handy in those fly boxes. Lake fish aren’t above eating their own, so a few small wooly buggers representing small fry are a good bet, too. 

If you are headed to small high country streams, a few attractor dries and droppers are just about all you need, and you have a chance to see any and all of the hatches mentioned above. So, what’s hatching?  Just about everything you can think of, plus more!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

Three Rivers Little League’s late rally falls short against Louisiana to end 12U season

The Three Rivers Little League 14U all-stars lost 16-3 in its southwest regional first round game Friday against Texas East in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Emily Bonfoey/Courtesy photo

Playing in 100 degree heat, a four-run fifth-inning rally wasn’t enough for the Three Rivers Little League (TRLL) 12U team in its second southwest regional tournament game in Waco, Texas, on Friday afternoon. The Eagle/Roaring Fork Valley all-star team fell 8-4 to Louisiana’s Eastbank Little League to end their season.

“We knew eventually they’d start to bleed through,” Ben Dodds said of his team’s late-game hitting.

Dodds said Louisiana was a more “fundamentally sound” group than the team’s first opponent.

“They had arms, they had bats,” Dodds said. “The Louisiana team were men; mustaches at the age of 12. They were bigger than me.”

Logan Nelson hit a two-out triple in the top of the first inning to get things rolling for Louisiana. A walk and an error brought Nelson home for the game’s first points. The inning would end with Hayden Nunez stealing home while TRLL secured the final out by catching Drew Stromboe trying to steal second base.

Hudson Rozga hurles a pitch towards a Louisiana hitter.
Sutton Dodds/Courtesy photo

All three TRLL batters grounded in the team’s at bat. It was more three-up, three-down baseball for both teams in the second inning as well.

Nelson led the charge in Louisiana’s five-run third inning with an RBI double and a steal of home. The 7-0 lead grew to 8-0 in the fifth inning when Nunez scored for the second time.

Sanders Dodds gets hyped with Hudson Rozga after Three Rivers recorded an out in the 2nd inning.
Sutton Dodds/Courtesy photo

Arvill Theodore Anderson

In the bottom of the fifth, the TRLL bats finally found life. Ryder Strablizky and Kasen Aguirre advanced on walks before a Sanders Dodds single loaded the bases. Evan Neuman hit a bases-clearing triple to make it 8-3 before scoring on a passed ball pitch to make it 8-4.

“They were playing us very shallow, but we hadn’t proved anything yet,” Ben Dodds said. Neuman’s blast went 30-feet over the outfielder’s head.

“That’s what got us started. Our energy and our spirits increased. It brought the joy back to what we experienced at districts and states.”

TRLL held Louisiana scoreless in the top of the sixth before attempting a valiant rally in the bottom of the final inning.

Tavin Shreeve hit a one-out single, followed by Strablizky advancing after being hit by a pitch. With two runners on base, Aguirre grounded out, advancing Shreeve and Strablizkly to third and second, respectively. Hudson Rozga drew another walk, loading the bases as Dodds stepped to the plate.

Dodds patiently let the first three pitches go across the plate, but grounded a 1-2 pitch into a fielder’s choice to end the game. With the loss, TRLL also saw its season — which began in mid-March — come to a close, having claimed district and state titles.

“Phenomenal year,” Ben Dodds said. “This has been a very long run. It’s the longest run they’ve ever had.”

Looking back, the coach felt the team’s self-inflicted wounds were decisive in both games.

“What we’re learning is that errors kill you,” he said. “We know that about this game, but they really hurt us; we kind of beat ourselves a little bit.”

The coach also said part of it may have been TRLL being on the big stage for the first time.

“You’ve got cameras all over the field. I was mic’d up for both games — I was trying to have fun with Danny Graves and Keith Moreland,” Dodds said of the former MLB pros in the Longhorn Network’s booth.

On Aug. 3, there was a media day where coaches met with announcers. “It was a full production,” Dodds said.

“We told the guys after the game: There’s a lot of baseball left in your young life to be played,” he continued. “Be proud of how far you’ve gotten, and now we just want to continue to get better and better.”

In the junior division southwest regional in Albuquerque, New Mexico, TRLL’s 14U team fell 16-3 to Texas East in its first game on Friday, and dropped a 15-12 decision Sunday afternoon to the host Albuquerque team on Sunday to end its season, as well.

TRLL falls to Oklahoma in first round

Three Rivers Little League’s (TRLL) 12U team gave up eight first-inning runs and couldn’t recover, falling to Oklahoma 10-0 in its first-round Little League southwest regional matchup in Waco, Texas, Thursday afternoon.

The Tulsa-based squad advanced on four straight walks to open the bottom of the initial inning, and three singles and three TRLL errors resulted in an 8-0 deficit.

Journey Boswell and Brayden Andrews pitched lights out for Oklahoma, allowing a combined two hits and two walks while striking out two over three and two thirds innings of work.

With the score 9-0 in the top of the third, Sanders Dodds hit a two-out single, which was followed by an Evan Neuman walk. Tavin Shreeve grounded out on an 0-1 pitch, however, to strand both runners in what was the team’s first legitimate scoring chance.

In the bottom of the inning, the combined Eagle and Roaring Fork Valley squad found its groove defensively, retiring the oppositions’ lineup in three-up, three-down fashion.

The top of the fourth proved fruitless for TRLL, though, and after Aidan Burleson, who finished 2-for-2, singled and then scored on an error in the bottom of the fourth, the 10-run rule went into effect to end the game.

TRLL now enters the elimination bracket and will need to win-out to stay alive. It plays the loser of Thursday’s late game between Texas West and Louisiana on Friday at 1 p.m.


UPDATE: Road to Crystal Mill, townsite reopens after debris cleared

UPDATE, Friday 2:20 p.m. — The road to the Crystal Mill and Townsite (Forest Road 314) is open again Friday afternoon following the debris flows earlier this week. “The debris has been cleared and the road is dry enough for us to reopen it,” White River National Forest Public Information Officer David Boyd said in a news release. The full Lead King Loop is now open for the weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service road accessing the popular Crystal Mill and the south end of the Lead King Loop east of Marble was temporarily closed earlier this week due to flooding impacts from monsoon storms on Monday.

The Aspen-Sopris District of the White River National Forest announced the closure of Forest Service Road 314 on Wednesday.

The closure affected the approximately 4-mile stretch from Daniel’s Hill (intersection with Forest Road 315) to the Crystal Mill where there were more than a dozen debris flows earlier this week, some as deep as 15 feet.

“We are hoping this will be a very short-term closure,” Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner said at the time of the closure, advising users to check the district’s website or call the office before attempting to travel the road.

Crews from the Gunnison County Public Works Department cleared most of the debris on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the road is still extremely muddy and susceptible to significant damage from vehicles, the release states. 

Forest Service Road 315 accessing the northern part of the Lead King Loop also had some debris flows but remained open and is passable with high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles.

Avalanche Creek Road (Forest Road 310) was also impacted by flooding. It is currently passable with most vehicles, but drivers should use caution, the release states.

For the latest information about this closure, call the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, 970 963-2266 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

Low water levels prompt Rifle Gap State Park to close boat ramps beginning Aug. 15

Declining water levels at Rifle Gap Reservoir have prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to close boat ramps at the park starting Aug. 15, six weeks earlier than last year and two-and-a-half months earlier than the normal closure date of Oct. 31, parks officials announced.

“Rifle Gap Reservoir is used primarily for irrigation, and it is typical for water levels to drop dramatically throughout the year,” Rifle State Parks Complex Manager Brian Palcer said in a Thursday news release. “We are still feeling the effects of the unusually dry weather and low reservoir levels from 2021.

“Our hope was that the late season snow would have increased runoff and reservoir water levels this year. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.”

The final day for inspections and access to the reservoir for trailered watercraft will be Aug. 14. The inspection station will be closed the following day and barriers will be in place.

While the boat ramp will be closed, the reservoir is still open to paddleboards, canoes and kayaks. The campground and picnic area will also remain open, and there’s access to multiple hiking trails and shoreline fishing.

The boat ramp at Harvey Gap Reservoir remains open, however boaters using that facility are reminded that motorized boats are limited to a motor size of 20 horsepower or less. 

For more information, visit CPW’s websites for Rifle Gap State Park and Harvey Gap State Park

Sports Briefs: Strongman competition, New Castle bike and running races this weekend

GarCo Fair strongman (and woman) competition

The fourth Strongest of the Strong competition takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Garfield County Fairgrounds outdoor arena track, as part of the County Fair and Rodeo.

There are weight-class divisions for both men and women. Events include axle press, odd object carry, farmer’s deadlift, arm-over-arm drag/push and Atlas stone to shoulder.

Weigh-ins take place from 3-7 p.m. Friday at 130 N. Ninth St. in Silt. Registration and additional details can be found at ironpodium.com/browse/event/the-strongest-of-the-strong.

The event benefits Brent’s Place for children who are battling cancer, and their families. The event is free for spectators.

For more information, contact Greg Orosz at workharderfit@gmail.com.

New Castle bike and running events

The annual New Castle Rides and Reggae festival this weekend features running and mountain biking competitions on Saturday.

A 10K trail race takes off at 7 a.m. starting at VIX Ranch Park, followed by the Dirty Dozen mountain bike race at 9 a.m. starting from the same location.

The festival includes a variety of reggae bands playing Friday evening and all day Saturday, also at VIX Park. The event is a benefit for the New Castle Trails Group.

GSHS fall sports parent meeting Wednesday

There will be a fall sports parent meeting at Glenwood Springs High School at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the school, 1521 Grand Ave.

School offerings for the fall season include football, volleyball, boys soccer and coed cross country. Parents can online register their athletes at gsdemonsports.com using the athletic registration button. 

Glenwood Community Center tennis courts closure

Three of the four tennis courts at the Glenwood Springs Community Center will be closed for rehabilitation beginning Thursday. Courts 1, 2 and 3 will be closed for approximately three months while crews convert asphalt to post tension concrete, according to a city news release. 

To facilitate construction, there will be a pedestrian detour around the front of the Community Center to the rear where the courts are located. Pedestrians and bicyclists should follow posted signage. Additionally, the northeast Community Center parking lot will be used as a temporary construction staging area, the release states.

In the meantime, court 4 remains open this season, and courts are also available at Sayre and Veltus parks for public drop-in use.

Intermittent closures of Community Center court 4 may be required for safety. For additional court guidelines, visit https://www.glenwoodrec.com/208/Guidelines

Temporary tennis lines are be added to courts 1, 2 and 3 at the end of the construction, and crews are to return in 2023 to paint. Next year, court 4 will be resurfaced and painted with both tennis and pickleball lines, the release states.

Pyro’s Push It Up trail races coming Aug. 13

The eighth annual Pyro’s “Push It Up” 3.5K, 7.7K and 13K trail races take place Aug. 13 on the East Elk Creek trail network north of New Castle.

The race is held each year in memory of Capt. William “Pyro” DuBois, who died when his F16 crashed while he was serving in the Middle East in 2014.

Race details and and a link to the registration website at facebook.com/pyrostrailrun/.

Dog Day 5K for CARE is Aug. 20

The Dog Day 5K race to support the shelter pets at Colorado Animal Rescue takes place Aug. 20 at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs. Registration opens at 8 a.m., with a 9 a.m. race start.

Well-behaved dogs are welcome (good on leash, around other dogs and people, etc.). Register online at coloradoanimalrescue.org through Aug. 19, or on site the morning of the event. The race fee is $30 for adults and $15 for kids (under 12).

CMC Spring Valley to host 2022 high school mountain bike championships in October

The new mountain biking trails at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus outside Glenwood Springs are officially slated to host the Colorado high school mountain bike championships in October.

The multi-day event inviting the top prep mountain bikers from across the state is set for Oct. 20-23, bringing more than 800 racers, plus coaches, families and spectators.

The total number of of visitors to the Glenwood Springs area throughout the race weekend could reach 2,000, organizers said in a news release.

The release cites a 2021 Colorado High School Cycling League Economic Impact Study, which determined that each dollar spent to produce a race generates a $120 return to the community in the form of lodging, restaurant and shopping revenue.

The championships are produced by the Colorado High School Cycling League, as mountain biking is not an official Colorado High School Activities Association sport.

Girls varsity racers Chloe Lutgring of Glenwood Springs, left, and Emma Borchers of Basalt compete on Snowmass Mountain at a 2021 Colorado High School Cycling League race. This year’s championships are slated for the new trail network at CMC Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs. Drew Rydland Photography/Courtesy photo
Drew Rydland Photography/Courtesy photo

Since 2015, CMC has sponsored an interscholastic league, hosting races at the college’s Leadville campus.

“Mountain bike racing became an Olympic sport in 1996, and high school mountain bike racing has kept pace, with increasing numbers of high school racers participating in the years since,” the release states.

Spring Valley recently completed work on more than 3 miles of new trails that connect to an existing trail network that was hand built over several years by students and community members.

The new trail construction was funded in part by a grant from the Catena Foundation, which supports opportunities for youth to engage and recreate in the natural environment, the release states.

CMC staff has worked with the Colorado High School Cycling League to create a 5 ½-mile course that’s designed for high school-age athletes.

The Roaring Fork Valley is home to four prep mountain biking teams from Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork high schools, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and a combined Aspen/Basalt high school team.

“I think it will be a big advantage to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before our biggest competition,” Glenwood Springs junior team member Chloe Lutgring said in the release.

The league is also planning two regular-season races at CMC’s Leadville campus.

On the Fly column: There’s no place like home

Besides hiking, golf, cycling, kayaking and all the other distractions this valley has to offer, fly fishing can be a very relaxing way to spend your day.  Even if you’ve never fished the Roaring Fork Valley, there are a bunch of great places to explore and wild trout to meet out there during the summer months. 

If you are visiting and don’t have any gear, most fly shops from Glenwood Springs to Aspen offer rental gear as well as top-notch guide services to maximize your time on our rivers, streams and lakes.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to where and when to go, as you can choose between intimate small streams, high country lakes and our world-famous gold medal waters. Any shop in the valley would love the opportunity to spread out a map on the counter and show you their favorite haunts, including what to use and how to fish the flies they recommend.  Finding great water is easy here; getting a license for the day or the week is even easier.

If solitude and wild cutthroats or brook trout are your speed, be sure to check out the upper Crystal River, Avalanche Creek or Rocky Fork Creek while here in the valley.  If it’s all about dry fly hatches and gold medal water, this is the time to be on the Fryingpan with a few green drake and pale morning dun patterns in your vest.

One caveat — the Colorado River is under a 24-hour closure as of late, due to warm and de-oxygenated water. Everything in the upper sections of the valley is cold and just fine.

Even if you have never fly fished, I guarantee (with the right advice and/or guide) you can have a blast on our rivers and lakes. Bring along some sunscreen, a few flies, and take in the gorgeous scenery we love to call home. You won’t regret it.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.