New bike team ready to roll in Gunnison Valley this season

Team Alpine Orthopaedics Cycling

It all started with a knee injury. Last spring Dave Ochs was having what he describes as “a miserable spring.”
Ochs’ enthusiasm for riding bikes borders on psychotic, and with a knee injury keeping him off his bike, times were grim.
He went to Alpine Orthopaedics to address his damaged knee. That’s when he ran into orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Rhett Griggs.
Dr. Griggs spent several years on the bike racing circuit in Southern California, Denver and Jackson before attending medical school.
While Ochs was undergoing orthopedic care, the two realized their shared enthusiasm for bike racing.
“We just got to talking about it and he mentioned he’d love to help out,” says Ochs. “He said they (Alpine Orthopaedics) want to help promote mountain bike racing in the valley. It was an opportunity that just couldn’t be passed up.”
Dr. Griggs knows the financial burden and time competitive bike racing involves, having done it himself, and wanted to provide an avenue for local riders to be able to train, race and recover.
“One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is provide some support for riders,” says Dr. Griggs, “give some financial support so they can focus on training and, more important, on recovering.”
“Griggs remembered what it was like racing and living in a van,” adds Ochs. “He wants to give help where help is needed.”
Conversations continued and then came to a head in October when the plan became a reality and Team Alpine Orthopaedics was formed.
A pro racing team of six riders was established that includes Ochs, who is on the cusp of getting his pro license, as well as current pro racers Travis Scheefer, Ethan Passant, Jeff Irwin, Laura Anderson and Jari Kirkland.
Team status includes, broadly, getting the pro riders in races locally, regionally and nationally.
Specifically, Ochs says, one of the goals is to get Scheefer to the UCI World Cup race in New York in August.
As time has progressed, the team has grown to involve and provide support for more than just pro riders. Team Alpine Orthopaedics includes support for a club team of 10 to 20 riders, a junior racing team, and support for women’s clinics and rides.
In addition to covering fees for club team riders, the team will provide an “incentive based” program whereby as riders’ results progress, i.e. podium finishes, so too will the support from sponsors.
Tim Curry heads the junior program with race fees covered by sponsors and travel arrangements organized by Tim. Furthermore, it’s not just about cross-country racing, as the junior program has downhiller phenom Teo Bradbury on board, a 14-year-old racer who’s mixing it up in the older age classes.
The women’s clinic is in conjunction with Alison Gannett and her Rippin Chix program.
“We want to get more people involved with riding,” says Dr. Griggs. “Get some of the kids going so they can see their potential and get them excited about riding a bicycle.”
“We want to incorporate every aspect that mountain biking has,” adds Ochs, “support the future of riding as well as the current riders in the valley.”
Furthermore, while Alpine Orthopaedics has stepped up as the major sponsor of the team, several other local businesses have jumped aboard to offer additional financial and product support.
Dr. Griggs adds that their support goes beyond financial as well, with the cooperation of the HAPLab at Western State College.
“There’s two ways we can help out,” explains Dr, Griggs. “One, we’re giving them financial support to help alleviate costs and, two, we help them train and give them guidance on their training. We want to be as supportive in every way that we can possibly be.”
“We live in a mountain biking Mecca,” concludes Ochs. “We want to get those guys out racing. Give them the support they need to get out there and kick ass.”
The competitive season for Team Alpine Orthopaedics Cycling begins with the first Mountain States Cup race on April 24. Follow their progress online at teamalpineorthopaedics.blogspot.com.

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