It was the perfect end to Riley Amos’ high school mountain bike racing career, as the senior wrapped up Sunday’s Colorado High School Cycling League mountain bike state championships at Durango Mesa with his first state title.
The Animas High School senior won the boys varsity state championship in thrilling fashion, as he edged Robbie Day of Evergreen to take home the title. Amos’ winning time was 1 hour, 39 minutes, 39.58 seconds. Day took second in 1:39:54.83.
After Day took a half-second lead heading into the final lap, Amos knew he had to pick up the pace. He put everything into the final downhill turn, which gave him enough separation to hold on to the win.
“Right when we came under the flyover and up that climb, he attacked pretty hard, and I did everything to try and stay on his wheel,” Amos said. “He eased up a little bit, attacked again and then right at the top into the downhill, I snuck by him and held him on the downhill. I gave everything in the last five minutes of the lap. That was the closest race I’ve had in a long time.”
That’s saying a lot for Amos, who earlier this year medaled at every event he competed in at the Pan-American Championships, won the national championships in cross-country and short track and followed with a silver medal performance in the team relay at this year’s UCI World Championships.
Amos’ win highlighted another strong day for Durango cyclists, as Durango and Animas fared well in the sophomore and varsity races. Durango won its third consecutive state championship in the Division 2 category, as it racked up 5,143 points. Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy took second with 4,184 points, and Crested Butte finished in third with 3,997.
Boulder’s Madigan Munro dominated the girls varsity field to take home a state title, as she won by more than three minutes. Munro got off to a quick lead and never looked back, as she crossed the finish line in 1:24:59, while Sofia Forney, an independent rider, was second in 1:28:05. Ada Urist of Fairview, last year’s state champion, finished in third while Durango High School junior Ruth Holcomb was fourth in 1:28:42.38.
“It feels pretty exciting,” Munro said. “I was just focused on really having fun. It was my last race, and I wanted to leave it all out there, so I right from the gun just went and just kept riding. I heard people yelling that ‘You’ve got a minute and a half,’ and I was like ‘Wow, that’s kind of surprising.’ I was just riding, wasn’t too focused on how other people were doing. It was a tough field, and I’m glad I got the win.”
Munro entered the race as the favorite after she came into the race as the points leader and finished sixth at the world championships.
Holcomb was proud of her fourth-place finish after she battled from the back row and was in second heading into the final lap. After she missed the first two races of the year, Holcomb hadn’t earned enough points for a front-row start.
“I’m actually stoked about my performance because I started in the back in my own row,” Holcomb said. “Going into the first hill, I thought, ‘Wow, I’d be lucky if I even break the top 10 today.’ The Boulder girls were really talented, and I just went out there to see what I could do. That last hill, they had energy left in them that I used to catch up to them.”
Animas’ best finish in the varsity race came from Abbey Shepard, who finished in ninth in 1:34:21, while Sage Davis took 32nd in 1:43:14.
In the sophomore races earlier, Boulder’s Johnny Stanzione won in 53:31.50, while Marin Ward of Summit won in 1:07:36. Durango did not have a competitor in the boys race, but Zara Rose Brown rode to a seventh-place finish in the girls race in 1:11:47.
Boulder won the Division 1 title with 7,351 points, Fairview was second with 6,807 and Summit was third with 6,067. Animas finished in 13th in Division 2 with 3,291 points. In Division 3, Aspen took home the crown with 2,113 points, Basalt was second with 1,991 and Fossil Ridge was third with 1,847. After a strong start on Saturday, Cortez-based High Desert Composite finished in eighth with 1,477 points.
After an impressive weekend of racing, Durango DEVO co-founder Chad Cheeney was impressed with the outreach from the community, and was also proud of DHS winning its third title in a row.
“It was an absolutely amazing weekend,” Cheeney said. “The community support was awesome, and so was seeing the kids giving it their all in all of the races. To see Durango win again was really awesome. It was really great to see the Holcomb sisters throw down great performances, and to have (Amos) win his first state championship was also really cool to see. ... It’s cool to see how big and rad it got. It has grown every year, and I can’t wait to see what this event brings in the next couple of years.”
Durango will host the state championships for a third consecutive year in 2020.