Many of Durango's youth cyclists felt the rush of winning - and camaraderie - in last weekend's Wildflower Rush bike event.The Crested Butte race series, held from June 20-21, is the third team race in the five-month summer season for the Durango Junior Development Mountain Bike Team, or DEVO for short.
A poorly timed pre-ride flat tire on the bike of James Shahan in the humid aspen forest got the team riled up Friday, U19 coach Chad Cheeney said in a statement, as they spent the wait swatting mosquitoes and jumping madly.
The boys prepared a pre-race spaghetti meal to lighten the mood, and a "SchwagFest," doled out donated items from Matt Phillips, Greg Herbold, Jeanne Pastore, Anthony Colby, Joe Burtoni and Todd Wells.
Saturday's 7.3-mile cross country course featured aspen singletrack, with a new section of downhill built a week before the event, Cheeney said, to boost the difficulty level.
Flat tires derailed many Durango riders, but the team finished with many outstanding results.
Alicia Rose Pastore took first in Category 1 for the 15-18 women, with teammate Kaila Hart taking second in what Cheeney called a "breakthrough" performance.
"Alicia Rose is the dominant rider in the state series," Cheeney said, "but it was Kaila who threw down a strong last lap to move from fourth to second and give DEVO a 1-2 sweep."
Joan Walker and Hannah Madden finished first and second, respectively, in 15-18 Category 2.
Elliott Saslow won the 15-18 boys Category 2, while Elyse Massone paced the girls 15-18 Category 3 group.
Kaylee Blevins was first and Avra Saslow second in the junior girls U14.
Durango's Andy Schultz also took first among pro men.
In Sunday's super downhill event, after a night of constant downpour, the Durango girls had a one-through-four finish in the junior girls category, with Madden winning, followed by Walker, Avra Saslow and Massone.
Gino Pastore was tops among the boys, with Sepp Kuss second and Eliott Saslow fourth.
The U14 and U19 teams travel to an in-state race at least once a month, with athletes staying in a team condominium during each weekend to practice self-sufficiency.
Next up for the racers is the USA Cycling National Championships in Sol Vista, Colorado from July 16-20.