Riding with the big boys
CARBONDALE – While most kids are drawn to the conventional sports, such as baseball, football, soccer or basketball, Ryan and Evan Lake prefer pedaling.Their love for cycling hasn’t made them the most popular kids in school, but the New Castle brothers aren’t about to ditch their sport.”At school, people call me stupid or retarded,” said Evan, 11. “I just ignore it.”On Sunday, Evan and his older brother Ryan, 14, tasted competition against a field of cyclists as much as six times their age at the fourth annual Porcupine Loop bike race in Carbondale.
Rising early to tackle the challenging course – which featured a mix of terrain features for some 26 entrants to traverse – Ryan finished 18th overall (53 minutes, 27 seconds) and Evan 22nd (57:40). Not bad, considering they were the only two youths entered. Neither seemed fazed by competing against older, more experienced riders.”It’s a challenge,” Ryan said. “I passed ’em going up, but on the singletrack, they got me.”Added Evan: “I lost five to 10 places because of doing the singletrack, and I cut my knee.”The course also routed riders over paved and dirt roads, doubletrack trails and short climbs before finishing up at Sopris Park, spanning 14.8 miles in total.
“It was fun,” said Carbondale’s Berit Daniels, the first woman across the line (49:36). “There was a good, long climb up to the start of the singletrack level section, and a fun downhill singletrack that was fairly technical. It was good way to get the heart pumping.”The race’s overall winner was Mike Hayes, an environmental science and chemistry teacher at Colorado Rocky Mountain School.Hayes, perched on his bright orange cyclo-cross bike, sped across the finish line – set up at the intersection of Weant Boulevard and Euclid Avenue – in 40:53 to edge out defending champion Mark Weinhold by 15 seconds.The first-time Porcupine Loop participant, who often travels out of the immediate area for races, liked having a chance to race locally.
“All these people that live in the area are so fit,” the 36-year-old Iowa native said. “They may not race as much but all are in such good shape.”As with much of Sunday’s field, Hayes first hopped on a bike at a very young age.”I’ve cycled since I was 5, and I never really got off a bike,” he said with a smile.Race director Alejo Dominguez, who along with Dru Handy founded the Porcupine Loop, saw Sunday’s race – now a Mountain Fair staple – play out at just as he hoped.”It’s basically a ride,” he said. “It’s a fun thing. It isn’t restrictive to one skill or age level. It’s difficult, but it’s a just a fun race.”
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