Dirt Demons reach new heights in Leadville
The Glenwood Springs High School Dirt Demons mountain bike racing team had a record turnout Sunday afternoon, as 14 riders competed at Leadville’s Cloud City Challenge.
The second race of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) South Conference series took place under sunny skies on the Colorado Mountain College campus’ mountain bike and Nordic trails network, located at a lung-searing 10,152 feet of elevation.
The 6.2-mile course featured 620 feet of elevation gain per lap. With tight, twisty lines through a shaded pine forest, several athletes cited the course as their favorite. And it showed on the podium and in the results as the Dirt Demons placed in the top 5 in four of the five divisions contested.
Leading the medalists was sophomore Lizzie Barsness, who placed third in the junior varsity girls’ division, which contested two laps of the course.
“I really tried hard to stay up with the leaders today,” Barsness said. “After the first lap, I looked back and couldn’t see anyone else even close to the three of us.”
The freshman boys division was chock full of Dirt Demons, with five lining up on the start lines of two separate heats. Erik Novy continued his top-5 ways from the first race, turning in a fourth-place finish, followed by Spencer Tuggle in 39th.
Kawak Miranda was on track to repeat his fourth-place result from the August race when he suffered a triple whammy of mishaps: a tire puncture, and brake and seat-post malfunctions. He went to the pit for repairs and soldiered on to a 92nd-place finish.
Kelton Lee and Grant Anson each rode their first-ever races, finishing 60th and 106th, respectively, out of the crowded field of 130 starters. Ben Heim of Glenwood, competing for Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, came in 72nd place.
In the varsity boys’ relatively elite field of just 42 starters, junior Lucca Trapani dug deep to hang with the leaders through four laps of the course to finish in fourth place, just 10 seconds out of third. Senior Jacob Barsness finished in 15th place.
Roaring Fork’s Lance Weidemann placed fifth in the sophomore boys’ division, followed by Ashlan Stolley who came in 77th out of the packed field of 121 starters, which was divided into two heats and completed two laps of the course.
The last event of the day was junior varsity boys, where Aaron Smith rode strong through three laps to finish in 10th place, followed by Mark Richardson in 42nd place, Telford Underwood in 46th and Elan Bouchet in 55th place.
At the end of a long day of racing, the Dirt Demons tallied enough points to move up to third place in the Division Two team competition. Nearly all 14 riders crowded around the podium to celebrate their hard work and fun times.
Next up is the Granby Ranch Roundup on Sept. 24. Complete results can be found at coloradomtb.org.
CRMS WINS CLOUD CITY CHALLENGE
This was the second race of the season for the Coloardo Rocky Mountain School bike team.
While the Glenwood Dirt Demons had a strong showing in Leadville, CRMS came out on top, placing first in the Division 1 team competition.
Seniors Levi Gavette and Ian Catto worked together in the boy’s varsity race to lap the field and finish second and third, respectively. The top three finishes were season-bests for both riders. In the sophomore boys race, Wheeler Feer crashed on the first lap but recovered and was able to win by almost 40 seconds. This was Wheeler’s first win and a huge accomplishment in a field over 120 riders. Other top ten finishes by CRMS riders: Emi Bauer placed fourth in girls varsity; Kate Oldham was sixth in girls JV; Elliot Vaughan placed fifth in boys JV; and Oskar Pederson placed seventh in sophomore boys.
All the individual successes added up to the team placing first in the Division 1 team competition, just edging out Animas for the top podium spot. This was the team’s second time this season on the top step.
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.