15 riders headed to state championships
by Than Acuff
All season long the CB Devo high school bike team has been nothing if not consistent—consistently fast. For the fourth race in a row, the team placed second, stepping onto the podium at the conference championships in Eagle, the highest finish ever as a team at a post-season race.
Heading into the conference showdown, the team knew they wouldn’t catch Durango, but they also knew second place was no guarantee with Animas close on their rear wheel.
“Going in, we knew we had to fight to stay in second place as a team,” says coach Torrey Carroll. “They had to just keep doing what they’ve been doing.”
Some of what they’ve been doing all season is finishing races. Across the board, the Crested Butte bike team has been 19-strong at every race with every rider finishing and nearly every rider gaining ground on the competition week in and week out. At the conference championships they did it again as nearly every rider posted their top result of the season and every one who started, finished.
Once again the top result among the Crested Butte riders came from Sarah Bivens in the girls JV race. Bivens has been in the top three at every race and led the overall points series. She continued that in Eagle, where she placed third to take the overall conference title in her race class.
Nate Ball set the one for the team in the first race as he climbed two more spots up to finish seventh in the JV boys race, his best finish of the season.
“He’s moved up every race and I think he’s learned about pacing through a three-lap race,” says Carroll.
Max Shull followed suit with his best result of the year, taking 11th, and Holden Bradford rose above a mid-race mechanical to place 32nd.
Katie and Piper O’Neill, along with Persia Lovett, teamed up to finish in ninth, 10th and 11th place, respectively, in the freshmen girls race, with the two sisters dropping the hammer to the finish line.
“It was exciting to see the twins sprinting to the finish,” says Carroll.
After mixing it up in the top 10 for part of the freshman boys race, Math Alagna dropped his chain, losing several spots, but recovered to still cross in 12th place. Luca Loperfido and Oliver White remained solid as they have all year, finishing in 34th and 44th place.
The varsity racers closed out the exciting day on the sand-riddled course. Robby Oberling had the top finish among the varsity boys. After getting pinched out at a bottleneck on the initial climb and falling into last place, Oberling spent the rest of the race picking off riders to finish in 25th. Gus Bullock had his top result of the season in 29th place, as did Marko Alling, one spot back in 30th, and Otis McLoughlin placed 41st.
Olivia Gordon and Lily Hanna were the last Crested Butte riders to roll onto the course. The course was not best-suited to Gordon’s riding but she still remained in the mix to place seventh for another Crested Butte podium showing.
“The course had half of the climbing of the previous one in Snowmass so it didn’t suit some of riders as well,” says Carroll. “She still worked super hard.”
Hanna closed out her conference showing with a 15th-place finish.
“A lot of kids had their best result of the season and overall it was a great day,” says Carroll.
While 16 of 19 Crested Butte riders officially qualified for the state championships, 15 will make the trip to Durango to race Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20. Carroll believes the way his athletes have been riding, the team could bring back some hardware.
“I think we’re ready to go down and get some great results,” says Carroll. “A few kids have a shot at individual podiums and if all goes as best as it can, we have a shot at a team podium.”