“I think everyone had a great first race and will move up this season”
by Than Acuff
With several pipelines for youth mountain biking in place in the valley, the local Crested Butte Devo high school mountain bike race team has exploded. Last season the team had 19 riders, including just three girls. This season the team has 31 total on the team, including eight girls, making them a force to be reckoned with.
“It’s pretty much the youth cycling programs in the valley,” says head coach Torrey Carroll. “There are a lot of kids in middle school and elementary school learning to ride and getting psyched on riding.”
Last season the team bumped up from Division II to the more competitive Division I bracket, mixing in with some of the larger programs throughout the state. They posted solid results throughout the season to place fourth in their league and then finished with two riders posting top 10 results and two more finishing in the top 20 at the state championships, with the team finishing the season 10th in the state.
“We had a great season and a lot of fun at the end and I think we finished it off well,” says Carroll. “
The team officially started training together on July 31 and came in with time on the bike already in place.
“I think 90 percent of our team had been riding a good bit all summer and had a base fitness and good skills in place,” says Carroll.
Adding fuel to the fire, Carroll has a host of parent/coaches helping out every day in addition to returning coaches Graham Elliott, Bart Hemminger and Copper Ott. Furthermore, the team brought in pro racer Jenny Smith, not only to ride with the team, but also to tweak their training accordingly.
“She brings in a ton of experience both racing and training,” says Carroll
They opened the racing season on Sunday, August 27 in Frisco with 30 of the 31 riders making it to the start line.
Carroll laid out some goals for his four varsity racers, looking for all of them to crack top 30. Second-year varsity riders James Bivens and Ian Eldridge hit the pre-race goal as Eldridge rode to a 20th-place finish and Bivens came in 25th place.
“They both had great races,” says Carroll.
First-year varsity racer Liam Elliott jumped off the starting line and was in the mix with his teammates the first half of the four-lap race but faded toward the end, still managing a 35th-place finish, with JC Patterson right behind him in 36th place.
“It’s a tough race,” says Carroll. “They’re riding as hard as they can for pretty much two hours. I expect these guys to move up throughout the season.
The JV boys all had solid rides in their first foray in to the JV class, which bumps up the mileage going from two lap races last year to three laps this year. Dylan Alagna led the crew coming in 11th place, with Dane De Frates finishing in 15th place despite dropping his chain a couple of times during the race. Ethan Carroll, Jesse Fulkerson, Luke Shull and Elior Bilow also all put in solid efforts, joining their teammates in the JV mix.
Five boys represented the team in the sophomore race with Marko Alling and Robbie Oberling leading the way, cracking the podium and coming in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Then came the freshmen boys, who cut their teeth on the high school racing scene in Frisco and stepped up to the challenge, led by Gus Bullock who moved up more than 40 places to post the team’s top freshman boys’ result in 15th place.
On the girls’ side of things, Marion Chater appears to be picking up right where she left off last year despite the move up in race class. In just her first race in the JV class, Chater cracked the top 20 with a 17th-place finish, while JV teammate Emily Knight placed 32nd.
Olivia Gordon had the top finish among all of the Crested Butte riders on the day. Gordon spent last season hovering around sixth place in the freshmen races but opened her sophomore season with a bang, taking second place.
“That was super awesome,” says Carroll. “It was a little bit of a surprise but she’s definitely motivated.”
Ruby Lammel had eggs the morning of the race and learned the hard way that may not be the right food on race day. Nevertheless, she gritted her teeth and still posted a sixth-place finish to step on the podium as well.
Meanwhile, the four freshmen girls all managed their nerves and race pace with comfort to all finish in the top 25, led by Nori Veit, who placed 11th.
“I think they learned a lot, had good solid rides and all of them can move up,” says Carroll.
The individual results all added up to a fourth-place team finish out of 13 teams. Not quite what Carroll was hoping for but still a great start to the season.
“I was thinking we had a shot at the team podium and we just missed it,” says Carroll. “I think everyone had a great first race and will move up this season. Top three is well within reach.”
The team returns to training these next two weeks and then will head to Leadville on Sunday, September 10 for the second race of the season.