“I think it was the strongest result in the history of our team”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Devo high school bike team took a huge step this past weekend with 30 local riders lining up for the Granby Ranch Roundup on Sunday, September 24 and finishing in third place as team, narrowly missing the second place spot on the podium.
“The previous race we barely got third,” says coach Torrey Carroll. “This race we almost took second and were way ahead of fourth place.”
The Granby course plays to the strengths of the Crested Butte team with fun downhills and steep ascents.
“The climbs match the rides we do around here,” says Carroll.
But as the team arrived on Saturday the skies opened up dropping rain and then snow on the course and forcing race officials to cancel all pre-rides. Fortunately, the weather subsided and the race was on.
“There were a few slippery sections in the first race but as the day wore on, it was primo traction,” says Carroll.
Nearly the entire Crested Butte team took advantage of the conditions and pressed hard in each race posting a number of podium results.
“I told them to ride a little harder and nearly 90-percent of our team moved up in the standings,” says Carroll.
Things opened with the JV boys and Dylan Alagna kicked off the day for the team as he rode “the hardest race he’s ever ridden” to place ninth. Dane De Frates came back off an injury to place 14th and Finn Wilson, despite his horrid start position, moved up through the field to post his best result of 18th place.
Gus Bullock made his first trip to the podium to lead the freshman boys with a ninth place finish while his freshman teammates all posted consistent results.
The varsity boys and sophomore boys then lined up.
Varsity racers Ian Eldridge, James Bivens and JC Patterson are all climbing closer to the top 10 as they continue to move up through a field of year-round riders. Eldridge is closest to pushing his way into the top 10 as he finished in 14th, with Bivens taking 16th and Patterson moving up six spots from the race before to place 24th. Liam Elliott rounded out the effort with a 31st place finish.
“All of our varsity boys moved up,” says Carroll. “They’re getting stronger every race and riding really smart,” says Carroll.
The sophomore boys had the top finishes as a group as three of them crossed the finish line in the top 10 for a podium result.
Marko Alling was in front for the crew coming in fifth place, Robby Oberling wasn’t too far behind in seventh and Josiah Tunkey had his best result placing 10th.
“He kind of had a breakout result,” says Carroll. “I knew it was coming, he’s been riding really strong.”
The freshmen boys followed suit as they all moved up in the results from their previous race as well.
Then the girls took over.
Sophomore racer Olivia Gordon posted her third second place finish in a row while Ruby Laemmel joined her on the podium in sixth place. Freshman Olivia Wilson had a breakout race coming in sixth place after starting way in the back and took home the “Slingshot Award” for her effort while her teammates are knocking on the podium door as well.
With all of the improvements by the Crested Butte individuals, the scores added up to a third place finish as a team.
“I think that’s the strongest result in the history of the team,” says Carroll. “I think it’s a combination of the training and the kids being hungry. To do well as a team is to do well individually.”
In addition, with solid and consistent results each and every race, numerous Crested Butte kids have already qualified for the state championships with several others close.
“Things are going really well,” says Carroll. “Morale is high and the kids are psyched.”
The team closes out the regular season with the Chalk Creek Stampede in Nathrop on Sunday, October 8.