Crested Butte cycling team preps for first race Sunday

High school riders gaining strength and speed

Last year Torrey Carroll spearheaded an effort to put together a local high school mountain bike team for the fall season.
Twelve athletes signed up for the inaugural year and by the season’s end, four ended up racing with Josh Gallen, finishing in second place in the overall points standings among sophomores.
This year, Carroll has nine riders, all poised for a season of competition with the support of local business such as Alpine Orthopaedics and Acli-Mate.
Gallen is back as a junior, ready to take the racing circuit by storm, moving up from the sophomore class to the varsity level.
“I don’t know if he’s twice as fast but it seems like it,” says Carroll. “He’s super motivated. I think he has the eye of the tiger after doing well last year.”
First-year racer/long-time rider, senior Ian Kelly joins Gallen for a potent one-two punch at the varsity level.
“Ian’s super skilled, fast and smooth on the downhill in particular,” says Carroll.
Jason Stubbe is coaching both Kelly and Gallen on a consistent basis and sees the two of them making some waves this season on the race circuit.
“I think Josh is one of the big boys—he lives for it,” says Stubbe. “Ian goes out riding with his father for six or seven hours on the weekends. He’s an incredible rider. I would say they’re going to be competitive in the varsity races.”
Sophomores Michael Ryan and Tristan Kraatz are back for their second year as well, and the team is rounded out by a solid group of freshmen—Emerson Wohlers, Oz Scott, Derek Schomler and Colton Schnaitter.
“The other kids are riding a lot stronger and some are starting to show some fitness and speed,” says Carroll.
“The best part is, I’m already seeing the seeds being planted for four years from now,” adds Stubbe.
The team started their season back in August, with a handful rolling into the fold once the school year started. Carroll and his coaching staff of Stubbe, Josh Egedy and Tyler Hammer have the athletes out on their bikes four days a week, with rides lasting anywhere from two to two and a half hours on the local trails.
“Some are endurance rides and we’ve been doing some speed work, intervals and throwing in some skills work and bike maintenance,” explains Carroll.
In addition, all nine riders appear on board for the season of racing in the Colorado high school mountain bike racing league.
“They’re all going to be racing, which is pretty cool,” says Carroll. “It feels like a team this year. We’re having fun and riding the guys harder.”
Carroll says the first goal for every rider is to have the fitness and strength to race hard for an entire race and make sure they don’t “red line” and then blow up too early. Once they hit that goal, then the kids and coaches will work on hitting their race potential.
The team will put to the test this Sunday, September 18 with their first race of the season, the Chalk Creek Challenge in Nathrop. After that they have races every two weeks for a total of four all season, culminating with the state championships on October 30 in Castle Rock.
“We have some momentum and the kids are pretty psyched,” says Carroll. “I’m expecting to have two or four kids in the front of the races. Maybe on top of the podium.”
The varsity riders have their hands full in the first race with a 24-mile long course laid out.
“That’s as long as Travis Scheefer races at the pro level,” says Stubbe. “We’re going to go over there and suffer and we’re going to end up with mud and guts on us.”

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