High school mountain bikers from Animas and Durango will load up for a third weekend of racing Sunday at Snowmass Village in Aspen.
The Durango High School team will look to keep its points lead among Division 2 teams in the South conference at the Snowmassive Chase event. Meanwhile, third-place Animas will look to race past Crested Butte and close the gap to Durango.
Teams will have fingers crossed for good weather after rain and lightning wiped out three girls races and cut the junior varsity boys race short at the Cloud City Challenge on Sept. 8 in Leadville. Each race will be key for those in the hunt for individual conference championships in the final two regular season events before Durango will host the Colorado Cycling League state championships Oct. 19-20.
At Leadville, Animas senior Riley Amos returned to the high school scene after his stellar season that saw him race at the world championships, while other high school racers opened the season at the Chalk Creek Stampede in Nathrop. Amos earned a dominant win in his return, as he finished four laps at high altitude in 1 hour, 41 minutes, 17 seconds. He was 4:32 ahead of second-place Robbie Day of Evergreen. Durango’s top finisher among varsity boys was Hayes Linney, who finished 17th. Defending state champion Cobe Freeburn of Durango has been sidelined with a broken arm suffered at the national championships in June.
Aleah Austin led the Durango girls in the varsity race at Leadville, as she placed third in 1:38:23. Rock Canyon’s Kennedy Scott won in 1:36:27, and Taegan Steinfort of Cheyenne Mountain was second in 1:36:52. Animas’ Abbey Sheppard was fifth in 1:38:45. Sage Davis of Animas was eighth in 1:41:06.
Durango dominated the weather-shortened junior varsity boys race that had a whopping 160 boys compete. Ivan Sippy won in 1:21:28. Ian Kutzleb was second in 1:21:43, and Riley Jaber was third in 1:36:18 for a Durango sweep of the podium. Durango’s Colby Simmons, riding without a high school team and competing independently, finished fifth in 1:27:35, though he had a 5-minute time penalty that kept him off the podium. Behind Simmons was Durango’s Jaden Kirk and Ian Groom in sixth and seventh, respectively. Leit Schafer of Animas placed 15th.
Another 130 boys competed in the sophomore boys division. Most of Durango’s JV riders are sophomores, and Animas and Durango did not contend the race.
The freshmen boys race was won by Conifer’s Sawyer Gneiser, who finished two laps in 57:45. Durango’s Toby Scarpella was third in 58:21, less than six seconds behind second place Finn Johnson of Aspen. Mack Otter of Durango was seventh.
Chalk Creek StampedeThe season-opening race saw every race completed without the threat of weather, which was good news for the girls, as Maggie Holcomb of Durango claimed a win in the freshman girls race in 1:04:55. She was 4:21 in front of Nora Quinones of Manitou Springs. Animas’ Julia Glotfelty and Maddy Glotfelty were third and fourth, respectively.
Chatfield’s Mia Aseltine won the varsity girls race in 1:28:23. Sheppard was seventh for Animas, while Austin was eighth for Durango.
Crested Butte’s Sarah Bivens won the JV girls race, while Durango’s Hannah Garvey placed second and Bailey Cioppa was fourth. Kelsey Nicholson also placed eighth for Durango.
Durango’s Zara Rose Brown was ninth in the sophomore girls race in 1:13:20. Elli Fisher of Gunnison won in 1:08:45.
The JV boys race was won by Sippy, who finished in 1:18:49. Nathan Gangelhoff prevented a Durango podium sweep, as he was second in 1:19:40. Jaber was third in 1:21:13, 12 seconds in front of fourth-place Kutzleb. There were 173 boys at the conference’s first JV boys race. Groom was sixth and Kirk was seventh for Durango.
With Amos in Canada, Chatfield’s George Poggemeyer won in Nathrop in the varsity boys race in 1:41:43. Animas’ Simon Donnaway was fourth in 1:45:25. Sean Holley of Animas was 13th.
Scarpella again led the freshmen boys contingent from Durango, as he placed sixth in 1:00:23. Finn Johnson of Aspen was first in 57:27, two seconds in front of Corbin Carpenter of Glenwood Springs.
High Desert CompositeThe Cortez-based team sent 11 athletes to Leadville to compete in Division 3.
Junior Thorin Howell raced to 23rd among varsity boys in 2:01:19.
Chris Camper posted a 14th-place finish among freshman boys in 1:05:37. Teammate Grayson Hogue was 29th, Logan Kamper was 35th and Max Johnson was 47th
The team was well represented in the JV boy race. Trenton Bagge was 29th, Will Brown was 39th, Gave Frizzell was 52nd, Tyson Schmidlin was 97th and Timothy Wyman placed 158th.
In the sophomore boys race, Nick Kamper placed 44th.
In the season-opening race at Nathrop, Howell finished 21st in varsity boys. The best team result came from Logan Kamper, who was 13th among freshmen boys, while Chris Kamper was 25th and Hogue was 62nd.
In the JV boys race, Schmidlin was 22nd, Brown was 29th, Bagge was 55th and Wyman was 90th. Nick Kamper placed 49th among sophomore boys.
Sophie Eschallier led the High Desert girls side, as she was 25th in the freshmen girls race.
HHHThe Colorado Cycling League is under the umbrella of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association that has boomed nationwide. This year, the Colorado league is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has seen numbers grow each year. More than 700 kids have participated in the South conference alone this year.
After this weekend’s race at Snowmass, the conference championships will be held Oct. 5-6 in Eagle.