“Quite a few of them already had a lot of riding in”
by Than Acuff
The CB Devo high school bike team is back in action this fall with pre-season rides starting July 30 and the team opening the season with the first race in Frisco on Sunday, August 26.
Torrey Carroll remains at the helm as the head coach, with Graham Elliott returning as an assistant, Cooper Ott joining the coaching fold, and a host of parents rotating in as group ride leaders.
Numbers dropped this year to 23 athletes, with the team losing a lot of riders to graduation and only one freshman hopping in the saddle. The good news is that of the 23 riders this season, 21 have some racing experience from past seasons and a majority of the athletes came into pre-season rides in shape.
“Quite a few of them already had a lot of riding in,” says Carroll. “Most of them showed up in shape, but not all.”
Pre-season rides were a mix of mileage and top-end speed work but were somewhat hampered by the onset of smoke into the valley from forest fires as well as athletes working and out of town on vacation.
“Pre-season is tough with family vacations and summer jobs,” says Carroll. “We were indoors quite a few times and had to cancel due to smoke in the air.”
The 2018 season will be exciting and challenging for a lot of the athletes as a majority of them moved up in age category. With the jump comes a higher level of competition and a tougher course.
“A big chunk of our team has moved up a category so they have longer and faster races,” explains Carroll.
They got their first test on Sunday as 18 CB Devo kids competed in the season opening race, the Frisco Bay Invitational. In the end, the team finished seventh out of 19 teams, with some kids thriving and others suffering.
“I think it went pretty well,” says Carroll. “Most of them were ready but, overall, a lot of the team rode a little too hard on the first lap and there were some pacing issues.”
Freshmen rider Sarah Bivens had the top results on the team on Sunday, placing second among the freshmen girls.
“She had been riding really strong in practice and she already has Nordic, bike and track and field competitions in her background,” says Carroll.
Lily Hanna and Otis McLaughlin led the sophomore class of Crested Butte riders. Hanna rode her way to a fifth-place finish in her race with teammate EmmaJean Lovett in 15th place. McLoughlin battled with 131 other racers to place 12th.
“Those results set them up for good start positions the rest of the season, as your start is based on results from previous races,” says Carroll.
Olivia Gordon and Robby Oberling both made a massive jump in race class from last year. After having standout seasons as sophomore racers last season, they qualified for the varsity class for this year, jumping over the JV race class. As a result they got an eye-opening experience, as the races go from two laps to four laps for varsity races. Nevertheless, they held their own in the new class, with Gordon finishing 20th among the girls and Oberling placing 27th among the boys. Dylan Alagna joined Oberling in the varsity race and was hot on his rear wheel, coming in 28th place.
“Those are good first results in the varsity category,” says Carroll.
While seventh place as a team is down from their typical top-five finishes last year, Carroll knows the team will start climbing the leaderboard as the season progresses.
“I think it was a pretty solid result and I think we can definitely move up from there,” says Carroll.
The team will spend the next two weeks preparing, including more endurance work, improving their ability to sustain a higher effort and spending some time on race strategy and pacing.
Their next race is the Cloud City Challenge in Leadville on Sunday, September 9.