Riders rise above mechanicals and crashes
by Than Acuff
While the hope was that the CB Devo high school bike team would make its second trip in a row to the podium, crashes and mechanicals and the shorter course held the team back, leaving them in fourth place at the Granby Ranch Round Up on Sunday, September 25.
“I think, in general, longer races are better for our kids,” says coach Torrey Carroll. “It’s still a solid result, given all of the crashes and mechanicals.”
The Granby course has the most climbing of any of the courses, all front-loaded at the start and a nice long stretch of singletrack. As a result, race organizers knocked a lap off of every race, fearing the amount of climbing would be too much for riders in a race format. Furthermore, while the start was a nice wide path, the course turned onto singletrack relatively early in the race, making for issues as riders jockeyed for position.
“Singletrack makes it a little hard to pass and the bottleneck near the start forced people to click out,” says Carroll. “We talked about not going out too hard because the kids wouldn’t be able to recover on the climb, and I think our whole team handled that pretty well.”
James Bivens was one of the Crested Butte riders who suffered as a result of a mechanical. Bivens spent three laps of the race locked in ninth place, but when his seat post slipped down, he lost a couple of spots, finishing the varsity race in 13th.
“His goal was top 10 and he was right in there until that happened,” says Carroll.
Ian Eldridge had been sidelined during workouts leading up to the race and when he lined up for the JV race, temperatures were near freezing. Nevertheless, Eldridge shook off the chill and ill to punch his way into a fifth-place finish. JV teammate Tanner Perkins had his hands full with a tough start position after missing a race earlier in the season. Perkins moved his way up from 105th to a 13th-place finish but his effort to make up places early in the race may have kept him out of the top 10 when all was said and done.
“He passed everyone in the second wave within the first 50 yards but he kept on going and I think that he blew up a little bit,” says Carroll. “It was still a good result.”
Finn Wilson had a similar brutal start place, lining up in the second wave and in the 108th spot but managed to mash his way to 30th place by the finish.
Sophomore Marion Chater continues to rally each week despite her tough start position. Chater went into the first climb on the first lap in 12th place and then proceeded to pass riders the rest of the way to finish in fourth.
“That was a really strong result for her,” says Carroll.
JC Patterson led the sophomore boys and continues to climb the overall ranks, edging up one more spot from his previous race to place eighth. Liam Elliott wasn’t too far behind in 14th place; Ethan Carroll rallied after a brutal crash to finish in 24th; and Jesse Fulkerson and Elior Bilow placed 29th and 47th, respectively, out of 100 riders, while a mechanical ended Luke Shull’s race prematurely.
Dylan Alagna had the top result among the freshmen boys placing sixth, a huge improvement from his previous races.
“That was a breakthrough race for him,” says Carroll.
Dane Defrates crashed three times during his race but still managed a 14th-place finish, and Owen Berv suffered a similar fate but still placed 20th. Ruby Laemmel shook off a recent illness to finish her freshmen race in 10th place.
The team closes out the regular season on Saturday, October 8 in Nathrop and then has two weeks before the state championships.
Given that mechanicals and crashes were the root sources of keeping the team off of the podium in Granby, Carroll is looking for them to step up in Nathrop.
“As a team we’re hoping to make it back on the podium again,” says Carroll.