No firsts, but sweet finishes

Sweet Elite fares well at 2013 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Sarah Sturm and Lauren Catlin, in their red and black Sweet Elite kits, finished fifth and 12th, respectively, at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s road race last weekend before Sturm took third and Catlin fourth in the mountain bike race. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Sarah Sturm and Lauren Catlin, in their red and black Sweet Elite kits, finished fifth and 12th, respectively, at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s road race last weekend before Sturm took third and Catlin fourth in the mountain bike race.

No wins, but there were podium finishes aplenty for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Durango DEVO Sweet Elite squad at last weekend’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

“I think (not having a win) is a first for our program and kind of surprising. But as the good coaches always say, ‘there’s more to life than winning,’” team manager Chad Cheeney said in an email to The Durango Herald. “But the team manager in me wanted these guys to win.”

Sarah Sturm finished fifth in the women’s road race as she continues to inch closer to a potential road race crown, and her former Fort Lewis College teammate Lauren Catlin finished 12th.

“I can see Sarah winning this one day,” Cheeney said.

Sepp Kuss hung near the front of the men’s road race most of the afternoon before finishing eighth. Kaylee Blevins was second in the junior girls road race, and Stephan Davoust was third in the boys junior race.

The Sweet Elite riders fared even better in Sunday’s mountain bike race. Kuss finished runner-up to former Fort Lewis College cyclist and FLC cycling coach Rotem Ishay, and Payson McElveen used a strong second half of the race to come in seventh. Davoust, in his first pro race, rallied from a flat tire on the first lap to finish 23rd.

Sturm and Catlin finished third and fourth, respectively, in the women’s mountain bike race, with Blevins, riding her first pro race, in 14th.

With an IHBC weekend in the books, the Sweet Elite and DEVO folks weren’t finished on their bikes just yet. First, more than 100 elementary kids raced bikes Wednesday at Buckley Park as part of the Junior DEVO fun race and Zia Eliminator.

Immediately after the fun race, the Eliminator took place, which is a one-lap race where four riders race with the top two in each lap advancing. Cheeney rode to second, with Davoust in third, McElveen fourth and Kuss seventh.

This weekend, Sturm and Catlin will take part in the Beti Bike Bash in Lakewood, an all-female event. They’ll be joined by U14 and U19 coach Annie Cheeney, U19 coach Sage Wilderman and FLC coach Elke Brutsaert, along with some middle- and high-school riders.

heraldsports @durangoherald.com