Storm slows high school bikers, cancels some races in Leadville
Special to the Post Independent
Six Glenwood Springs Lady Dirt Demons had their mountain bike races canceled due to rain and lightning at the second race of the season in Leadville last Sunday.
The Cloud City Challenge stayed true to its name with ominous weather calling off the girls’ junior varsity, sophomore and freshman categories in the Colorado League’s South Conference. Officials made the announcement midway through the junior varsity boys race, directing riders to shortcuts for the quickest route to the finish line.
At a breathtaking 10,000 feet in elevation, the course took place at the Colorado Mountain College-Leadville campus. Each lap measured 6.2 miles and wound through tall lodgepole pines, up twisty singletrack threading through aspen groves, and finally ending with a descent through the trees on an old mining road. Racers gained 620 feet of elevation per lap and caught glimpses of Colorado’s two highest peaks of the Collegiate Range, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert, as they sped along the trail.
Senior legacy rider Lizi Barsness placed 13th in the varsity girls race, the only girls race of the day to be contested. Her result contributed the most points toward the overall team tally. Varsity boys competitors were juniors Eric Novy and Kawak Miranda. Novy had a strong race, finishing 22nd, but Miranda suffered a tire puncture barely into his third of four laps. Further complications with his wheel forced Miranda to abandon.
Junior varsity boys Oliver Patrick (19th) and Austin Villareal (23rd) barely made the cutoff before the storm swept into the venue. Grant Anson was on his third and final lap of the junior varsity race when he was ordered straight to the finish. “I had to detour down the fire road, which took about a minute longer,” he said with disappointment. Anson received a pro-rated score among all junior varsity boys completing two laps, placing him 76th. Sophomore boys who raced earlier and dodged the rain included Christian Landeros (34th) and Aidan Corcoran (53rd).
Freshman Corbin Carpenter started off the chilly morning well with an eighth-place finish, maintaining his top-10 status. The freshman boys make up nearly half of the GSHS roster and lifted the team’s spirit, despite weather-driven setbacks. Nathan Grosscup, who finished 16th, said, “I had a lot of pedal strikes. That’s where your pedal hits a rock or something; but I stayed on my bike the whole time.”
The Dirt Demons had 11 finishers in Freshman Boys: Cole Geiger (21st), Noah Davis (24th), Brody Cyr (26th), Angel Hernandez (59th), Theo Corwin (73rd), Henry Cole (82nd), Sam Hollenbaugh (84th), Rohan Gerrald (105th) and Sebastian Peters (120th).
Gerrald recounted with pride, “My race went pretty bad. In the first half of the first lap my handlebar clipped a tree, and I wrecked, but I took my bike with me so I didn’t disrupt anyone else.”
“My first lap was perfect,” recalled Davis, “Very clean, very fast. Then I bonked the second lap. I still had fun, though, because it’s a fun course.”
Even Carpenter offered, “My legs were super heavy the first lap, but my second lap was faster.”
Perhaps not racing your best is still better than not racing at all. Junior varsity racers Emma Barsness and Nadia Shea, sophomores Ella Lindenberg and Kailey Murphy, and freshmen Chloe Lutgring and Madeline Smith did not get the chance to show off their skills.
“If they had just waited 10 minutes…,” said Lutgring referring to the last-minute cancellation. “I was pretty upset, but I understand the reason.” All girls will have the race count toward their requirements for the state championships, but none will accrue any points.
Next up for the Dirt Demons is the Snowmassive Chase on Sept. 22. Registration deadline is Sept. 16. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) promotes empowering youth to be part of an engaged and thriving cycling community. Over 600 athletes, along with their coaches, families and friends will be in the valley next weekend to eat, sleep, shop, but mostly bike.
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