Race season opens this Saturday
If you’ve been out on the trails in the past several weeks for your afternoon rides, chances are you’ve come across a lean, mean, biking team. For the fourth year in a row, Torrey Carroll is heading up the Crested Butte High School Mountain Bike team and has called on Jason Stubbe, Mark Robbins, Pete Curvin and Liz Sampey to help get the most out of the 11 young engines signed up to ride.
Senior Brennan O’Hagen is new to the program with classmates and veteran racers Tristan Kraatz and Cristo Church on hand to lead the team. Juniors Oz Scott, Derek Shomler, Emerson Wohlers and Colton Schnaitter have several high school races under their belts and are looking to post enough top results this season to make a jump in class for their senior year. Sophomores Liam Rose, Kai Sherman and Patrick Curvin all picked up some key experience last year racing as freshman and freshman Will Johnson will line up for his first high school race this season.
The team opened their workouts back in the beginning of August and, for the most part, they came prepared.
“Some of the kids have been riding in the summer and their skills and fitness are right up there,” says Carroll. “The kids who didn’t are catching up quick.”
Riding four days a week, the team started out with the all-important fitness workouts.
“The first couple of weeks, we just tried to get base miles in,” says Carroll. “Riding at a tempo just below breathing hard.”
Still, cognizant of the fact that endurance doesn’t make for the most complete rider, the team also took advantage of the free lift rides on Fridays at Crested Butte Mountain Resort to work on their descending technique.
Carroll and his coaching staff ramped up the effort in the third week of workouts and called on Andy Shabo for some additional riding skills work.
The team will line up for their first race of the season in Granby on Sunday, September 8 and to prepare for that, the coaches are pushing the kids to start developing a high end this week.
Nine athletes from the Crested Butte team will be riding in the JV class, one will ride in the sophomore class and one in the freshman class. None of the local high school team qualified for varsity level with their results from last year but Carroll puts that level into perspective.
“You have to be super fast to be varsity,” says Carroll. “The top riders in varsity already have racing contracts and have been racing pro this past year.”
The JV is not without its top guns either and can make for some extremely chaotic and fast-paced bike racing.
“The first race starts with four riders across and everyone in rows behind them,” explains Carroll. “Where you start depends on how well they do in the line-up. You have 75 kids waiting for them to open up the gate to line up.”
Depending on where the Crested Butte kids end up, Carroll expects them to do fairly well at the JV level.
“Our kids will be competitive in the JV race but so much depends on where they start,” says Carroll.
The season continues through October with races every other weekend, finishing up on Sunday, October 20 with the state championships in Eagle.