Team Alpine Orthopaedics kicks into gear at Snowmass

“We mountainfolk are starting to come around”

As was predicted by Team Alpine Orthopaedics Cycling (TAOC) rider/manager/directeur sportif Dave Ochs, the team started posting podium results by midsummer.



The team opened the season back in May and was getting trounced by Front Rangers and Durangoans who had been on their bikes in the early spring while the TAOC athletes were still reaping the rewards of mountain living—i.e., skiing.
Ochs insisted back in May that there was no cause for concern and the team would hit its collective stride come midseason.
Following their performance last weekend in Snowmass at the Mountain States Cup series race Blast the Mass, Ochs and the team, from the pros to the juniors, appear to be right on target. Ochs touts weekly team rides and team physician/athlete/sponsor Rhett Griggs’ work with their training as a big part of the teams’ turnaround.
“We had the juniors rocking and a mad pro contingency,” says Ochs. “We mountainfolk are starting to come around. Everything is coming together.”
TAOC top pro rider Travis Scheefer continues to gain ground on the Mountain States Cup pro scene placing second in the short track at Snowmass and fourth in the cross-country.
Short track consists of 20 minutes of pegging it around a quarter-mile course. Once the 20 minutes are up, riders have two more laps to make one last move.
Scheefer came into the race looking to pace through the first portion of the race and then make the push toward the end for the win.
“The last two laps are what it comes down to,” says Scheefer.
After setting himself up in second place and gaining on the first-place rider, a downpour turned into hail and race officials made the call to cut the race short.
“Eleven minutes into it, they said one lap to go,” says Scheefer.
Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for Scheefer to make his final move, leaving him with a second-place finish.
“I was definitely starting to close on the guy but I needed one more lap to win,” says Scheefer.
Scheefer suffered another bout of bad luck the following day in the cross-country race.
A lead group charged out of the start, including nationally ranked cross-country racer Jay Henry. At a race a week before, Scheefer let the lead group go but at Snowmass he had a different plan.
“I felt good at the start so I jumped out with the lead pack,” says Scheefer.
Four riders were neck-and-neck through the first lap, with Henry in first and Scheefer on his rear wheel. Once they turned up the climb on lap two, Henry and Scheefer dropped the other two riders and were out front in a battle for first place.
Scheefer made his move at the top of the climb building a small gap on Henry on the first descent, until the world dropped out from under him.
“I was coming around a corner pretty fast and my bike just came out from under me,” says Scheefer. “I hit my thigh pretty good and it knocked the wind out of me.”
Henry took the lead and Scheefer hopped back on his bike to remain in the hunt, but his rear wheel lost some air in the crash, forcing Scheefer back off his bike for a repair.
“I think the tire must have burped some air out,” says Scheefer.
The tire continued to lose air and after two more stops to assess the situation, Scheefer had lost a couple more spots for good and just cruised to the finish line.
“By the time I got the tire all done with I was in fourth place and couldn’t catch those guys,” says Scheefer.
Down but not out, Scheefer was still psyched with most of his race.
“I was still psyched to be riding with Jay Henry in the front until that happened,” says Scheefer. “He’s definitely one of the better riders in the country.”
TAOC young gun Bryan Dillon continues to make waves rocketing out of the amateur ranks for his first pro start of the summer at Snowmass.
“He petitioned to go to CAT I and they put him in pro,” explains Ochs. “He basically moved up from zero.”
Dillon wasted little time in his pro class debut with a tenth-place finish at Snowmass, rubbing shoulders with the top pros on the Mountain States Cup circuit.
Jeff Irwin rolled to a 14th-place finish in the pro class.
Team women pro riders Jari Kirkland and Laura Anderson joined their male counterparts in the top ten standings with Kirkland placing sixth and Anderson in seventh place.
Ochs recovered from a horrific outing a week ago in Breckenridge to hit the podium in Snowmass with a third-place finish in the CAT I ages 30-39 category.
“My race went pretty groovy,” says Ochs. “I was super psyched to have some fitness back.”
Additional TAOC amateur racers posted solid results as well. Stewart Gross took fifth among CAT I men ages 19-29. Junior TAOC brother/sister riders Arly Landry and Pete Landry led a TAOC youth movement, with each placing second in their classes.
TAOC junior coach “Tim Curry has been taking care of these kids and they’re running with it,” says Ochs.
The team has its biggest test of the season this weekend as they head to the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships at Sol Vista Bike Park in Granby, Colo. July 15-18.
“The Sol Vista thing is the Mac Daddy of them all,” says Ochs. “It will attract the top riders. We’re hoping to have the whole team there.”

Check Also

Junior Bike Week to hit the area June 26 – 30

A Downhill, Short Track race and the Omnium added this year [ by Than Acuff  …