Durango came out on top this past weekend in Elbert, Colorado at race #3 as part of the Colorado High School League race series. This win puts them in 2nd place overall to Grand Valley in Division II with Animas High sitting in 4th in Division II. Over 580 racers and 40 high school teams showed up to race 40 miles NorthEast of Colorado Spring in a spot called ‘Peaceful Valley.’ The day started out with 30 degrees and ice on the tents, but the sun came out for the varsity and JV boys start on the 6.6 mile course completing 4 laps for varsity and 3 for JV. Christopher Blevins, in his first HS race of the year, finished 4th while teammates Will Berger, Charlie Greenberg, and Bryce Gordon all finished in the top 15. Greenberg was on a rented bike and Bryce had to borrow a coaches’ bike just minutes before his start due to a broken chain. ”Elbert is one of those races that is key to the overall as it is a long drive, very little climbing and very little technical riding…ie: it does not favor our racers,” said team director Sarah Tescher, “Yet, they did exactly what they knew they had to do which was ride hard and finish strong no matter the obstacle be it mechanical, crash or otherwise.” Animas High JV riders Keenan Desplanques and Quinn Haughey were out on course at the same time and Keenan pulled ahead of the 1st place rider to take the win within the last couple miles of the race. ”These varsity/jv riders have yet to see the end of their race due to weather that causes race organizers to cut their races short. It was so great to see what Keenan could do when given the chance to race a full race. Seeing him come in first was well deserved on his part and he fought for it!” said Tescher.
Next up were the Freshmen boys of AHS and DHS. Lukas Robbins held onto his 3rd place and finished strong after riding 2 laps on the 5.3 mile course. Keiran Eagen of AHS was in the lead of his race when a crash set him back to 2nd where he finished. He maintains the Leader jersey. ”It was crazy to see that wave have 5 AHS riders in the hole shot. They were like a train of black and green Osperys heading out on course,” said Tescher. Perrin Kileen rode with the top 5 until the very end and finished 7th with teammate Dylan Williamson coming in alongside George McQuinn and Andrew Middleton who took 9th,10th and 11th. ”I had bonked out there and George came up from behind me and said, “Come on Dylan, let’s go!,” said Williamson after the race. All 5 AHS riders are in the top 10 overall. Jimmy Pope came in minutes later and teammates Geoffery Steiner finished his race in 1:12. All the freshmen finishes helped to push the teams up in the overall.
Last up were the female racers. For her 2013 debut, Kaylee Blevins came to represent the Demons and worked with Durango and Animas High rider India Waller. ”They rode off the front of the field together and worked with each other to make sure to maintain a gap which was some smart racing,” said Tescher. The two came in way ahead of the rest of the field and treated spectators to a sprint finish. Waller took first with Blevins in 2nd. Teammates Robin Austin and Sierra Trout toughed out the long course and finished strong with Austin sitting in 6th overall for the league. Next up were DHS/AHS duo Katja Freeburn and Camryn Sippy whose finishes in the last race would have placed them in 2/3 for varsity. Freeburn led the race off the gate and Sippy soon jumped on her wheel. ”I told them to work together to break away from the field and to chase the Vail rider and that is exactly what they did,” said Tescher. Sippy suffered a mechanical and had to stop twice to fix her front wheel. Freeburn finished 2nd and Sippy 3rd to maintain their overall 1/2 placement in the overall with Sippy in the Leader’s jersey heading to State Championships in two weeks. ”But the final race of the day was probably the most exciting!” said Tescher. Ellen Campbell was tangled up in a crash at the start of the Sophomore girls’ field which caused her to leave the start gate in the back of the field. She spent all of her two laps passing girls and working her way back up to the front of the group with a bloody knee from the crash. ”Next race, I’m going to sharpen my elbows,” said Campbell upon coming in 3rd after a heroic race spent making up time. She is now in 3rd overall.
“This past race was really the toughest for us, yet the most important. I knew we would be at a bit of a disadvantage due to our long travel distance, very cold camping, and a course that is better suited for road riders than the hardy Durango bunch who like single track. But, we focused on the positive and got the job done,” said Tescher. The team arrived back in Durango around midnight and practices today right after school. The next and final race is the State Championship in Eagle, Colorado. AHS is in 4th overall just 80 points behind Fairview High school in Division I and DHS is in 2nd just 113 points behind Grand Valley in Division II. ”The next race is going to be glorious and nail-biting at the same time. We need some of our riders to move up just 1 or 2 spots in their finishes and we will have both teams on the podium with DHS riding for the win. It will take the whole team to make it happen. But if any group of athletes can get it done, it would be this crew,” said Tescher who will be working alongside head coach Garrett Alexander at the next race to ensure that all racers are ready to ride and ride hard.
Full Results: http://my2.raceresult.com/details/results.php?lang=en&page=6&eventid=19920&contest=0&name=Result%20Lists%7CIndividual%20Results&format=view