Five riders finish top 20
It was a series of firsts for the Crested Butte high school mountain bike team this past Sunday as they opened the 2014 racing season at the Snow Mountain Ranch outside of Granby.
This was the first race of the season, first varsity race for Ozzie Scott and Patrick Curvin, the first mountain bike race ever for Jamey Spahn and a host of freshmen, and possibly the first time the Crested Butte team had five riders finish in the top 20.
“Almost all of them had amazing performances,” says coach Pete Curvin.
The riders were thrown a curveball before the racing even started as organizers changed the way riders line up for races. As a result, when Scott and Patrick were called to the line, Patrick found himself in a nice start spot while Scott was left three rows back among the stout field of varsity riders.
Being their first time in a varsity race, coach Jason Stubbe laid out a plan for the two riders.
“Stubbe just told them that they needed to get in there, see what the field was doing, get on their pace and hold in there,” explains Curvin. “The idea was to not chase the leaders and blow up.”
Both Patrick and Scott put in exceptional performances following the sound strategy, as Scott finished 15th and Patrick placed 19th.
“We were pretty excited to have two guys in the top 20,” says Curvin. “I think the strategy worked well and we’ll move forward from there.”
Colton Schnaitter, Emerson Wohlers and Derek Shomler had their hands full in the JV boys race with more than 80 riders lining up and the three riders drawing starting spots toward the back of the pack.
Despite the harrowing task of fighting through the field from the start, Wohlers and Schnaitter teamed up to make things easier and finished the day in the top 30.
“Colton and Emerson both had breakout performances,” says Curvin. “They got on each other’s wheel and worked their way through the field. The course didn’t have a lot of passing opportunities and that’s a lot of riders to pick your way through.”
Shomler had a rough start to his season, suffering a couple crashes and a flat, but he managed to rally through to the finish line.
“He stayed in there and got his points,” says Curvin. “He’ll live to fight another day.”
Spahn was entering the fray of mountain bike racing for the first time. She just started riding mountain bikes four weeks ago and made the switch to clipless pedals last week. As a result, her race plan was fairly straightforward.
“The strategy for her was to just have fun and learn something about mountain bike racing,” says Curvin. “Just the fact that she’s the only girl on the team and got out there and did it is amazing. She has a good future—hopefully she sticks with it.”
Will Johnson posted a top 20 finish for the team in his sophomore race. Johnson was another victim of a poor start spot, setting up in the second to last row of almost 80 riders. Nevertheless, Johnson charged his way up to 25th place after the first lap and finished the day in 18th place.
“That was absolutely amazing,” says Curvin. “That’s as much as you can ask for from him.”
Freshmen Ian Eldridge and James Bivens rounded out the series of top 20 finishes for Crested Butte in the freshmen race as Eldridge placed 11th and Bivens 17th.
The team has the next two weeks to get more training in and then head to Leadville on Sunday, September 21 for the Cloud City Challenge race.
“The start is at 10,200 feet, which is awesome,” says Curvin. “The kids love it and everyone’s looking forward to the next race.”