Sets sights on professional bike racing series
Heading into the 2009 COSMIC randonnee race series, Crested Butte resident Travis Scheefer, of the Scheefer über-athlete dynasty, planned on just testing the waters.
Scheefer opened the series reaching his initial goal when he took fifth place at the first stop of the COSMIC series at Sunlight ski area.
From then on it was nothing but top-three finishes, including winning the Snowmass Winter Wild in February and the San Juans Rando last weekend.
Scheefer closed the series with a third-place finish in the Marmot Grind at Arapahoe Basin on Saturday, April 25 and finished the season as the overall points series champion.
Racers at the Marmot Grind were met with tricky conditions as spring gave way to winter the night of the race.
“It got really cold and was partly cloudy the day of the race, so it was all kind of refrozen spring mank,” says Scheefer.
COSMIC organizer Pete Swenson opted to take part in the final race of the season and jumped out to a lead on the first climb, a lead he would hold the entire race.
That meant Scheefer would be in a battle for second place with professional adventure racer and five-time winner of the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse Mike Kloser.
While incredibly strong on the uphill, Scheefer often makes his decisive moves on the downhill, but course conditions prevented Scheefer from passing Kloser during any one of the four downhill sections.
“The downhills were really challenging,” says Scheefer. “Teeth were chattering and my legs felt the burn every time.”
The race finished with one last boot-pack before the final descent and that’s where Kloser managed to shake Scheefer to take second place, leaving Scheefer in third.
“He was able to open a little gap on the boot-pack,” says Scheefer. “The old guys got me.”
Nevertheless, with the overall COSMIC title and a second-place finish at the U.S. Ski Mountaineering National Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo. in March, Scheefer punched a ticket onto the U.S. Ski Mountaineering team that is headed to the 2010 Andorra ISMF Ski Mountaineering World Championships next winter.
“I’m excited to go over to Europe next year and race,” says Scheefer.
Scheefer will now make the transition from skis to his bike as he enters the 2009 Mountain States Cup race series this weekend, spending his first season racing as a pro.