When vastly outnumbered collegiate mountain biking teams rolled into Durango for races a decade ago, theyd mock the flock of Fort Lewis Skyhawks for their endless geek-out, bike-part shop talk as squawking.
But Chad Cheeney said the Skyhawks flipped that derision on its head, and when they take to the trail to shred up this weekends Squawker Mountain Bike Classic, everyone will realize that Fort Lewis College riders do more than squawk.
The names kind of a funny thing, said Cheeney, the race organizer. We dont just squawk; we walk the talk.
This weekend, the top-ranked Skyhawks will have a few mountain biking events in which to prove theyre not all noise against more than 150 riders from across the region before they head to the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championship in Angel Fire, N.M., on October 28.
Fort Lewis, the four-time defending national champions, will be looking to clinch a fifth title, and Dave Hagen, director of operations for FLC cycling, said the Squawker MTB Classic will be a great way for his mountain racers to prepare for the championships on their home course.
Therell be a lot of good racers from out of town, but whats really cool to see is kind of the home-town bragging rights, Cheeney said.
People should come out and watch because we will probably dominate every event, Hagen said.
The domination could start Saturday morning with Cheeneys favorite event: the endurance short track.
The athletes will go around the short course like six times. said Cheeney, who built the short track course. So you can walk around and see tons of people shredding all over. Its really fun.
Cheeney said the men and womens A teams will be the best for spectators to catch. The B and C races arent anything to miss either, he said.
Next up: the gravity-based dual slalom at the Chapman Hill Ski Area.
Whereas the endurance racers have the mindset of suffering, Hagen said the gravity riders have some kind of whacked-out mindset where you can hurdle yourself down the hill.
Youll see some jumping, some crashing, head-to-head combat, Cheeney said.
The Squawker MTB Classic cross country will take place Sunday on the Factory Trails, which also will host Saturdays short-track competition.