Reality is Sweet
On October 1st the Durango Composite High School team travelled to the hills near the Winter Park ski area to show what they were made of. The preride on Saturday featured perfect, cool weather and electricity was in the air…literally. The aspens were golden. The singletrack was smooth. Tactics were discussed. Bikes were prepped. Riders began to feel the tension that the next day would bring. The scene was set, and we all fell asleep listening to elk bugles and coyote yelps.
Race Day: The sun rose and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. The lightning, thunder, and drizzle that had put our campfire out the night before was long gone. This day was made for speed. Breakfast, a quick camp breakdown, and we were off to the pit zone and race course. The crew stretched their legs out on the short ride to the course and had time to reflect on what the strategy would be once their race began. Push hard on the uphill start and get near the front of the pack before the ghost town. Hammer the double track hill and get ready for the dusty rutted descent and the water bars along the way. Speed across the dam, drop a few gears and overtake the hikers on the steep hill. Man it’s tough to clean that thing. Now corner through the aspens, hydroplane across the creek, blast the level home stretch and maintain your speed through the meandering finishing corral. That shouldn’t be that bad……
First out was India, racing in the super fast varsity class. She turned 2 quick laps and made her move on the third. Riding in third place going into the finishing zig-zags she managed to completely close the 1min 30s gap on the rider in 2nd and it came down to a sprint finish. She gave it all that she had but in the end she took third by a gap of only 2 seconds. Had the course been 100 feet longer who knows what would have happened! Robin followed in the next wave and had a great day on the course. She started fast, stayed fast, and ended fast! The result – a second place finish and the overall JV Girls Leader position. Congrats!! Next up was Sierra. She took to the race course with her usual focus, power, and determination. She came through the pit after lap 1 and gave us all the impression that she was going to own it on lap 2. She did just that and gave a massive effort, earning the #2 finish. Very proud!
The boys were up next and represented just as well as the girls did. The clouds never seemed to come back and by now the course was just downright hot! Nano and Jack took off in a giant wave of nearly 40 riders. It was a precarious start with a pileup that happened just off of Nano’s wheel. The dust cleared and it was obvious that they were here to hammer and have fun. Nano and Jack went so fast on their first laps that I almost missed them at the feed zone! They both started near the back of the pack and through the race managed to pick racers off one by one and move way up and secure solid finishes! Way to go. This was Jack’s first race EVER and he made us all really proud. Andrew, racing in the JV boys division, was the last racer to start, and he had to endure some seriously hot and dusty conditions. He had to wrestle with a huge field as well and managed to stick to a solid game plan. Quick start, punch it through every inch of the course, and stay consistently fast. That earned him a solid finish as well and
put the team at a tie for second place in the overall division 2 standings at this point in the series. All of the riders put out maximum effort and had huge smiles once the dust settled. An incredible day to say the least – zero mechanicals, 100% fun. Great job team!!!
-Coach Dave Heershap
Check the Results Here
Pre Race Day:
What a weekend! At first I thought we were going to get BLASTED with rain as Sarah and I drove threw the pass. We hit everything except snow. Rain, heavy winds, hail, it was just nuking in Gunsmoke. But once we dropped into Salida we were all good and clear with weather. Now I know why people call it the banana belt of Colorado. Sarah and I arrived a little after 1pm, just in time to pre-ride the course with the kids. We all gathered as a group and rode as a group. I showed them a couple of tricks when it comes to line choice and protecting the inside lines. After a one lap warm up we hit it hard on the second lap for an opener. After our hot lap we cooled down for a bit and I sent the kids to the camp site to eat and rest up for the rest of the day. My awesome roommate Cassandra Brown made the kids cookies for the kids in order to celebrate there season kick off, and the kids and parents were very pleased. I’m not even sure if Sarah could count how many cookies she at…must have been in the dozens:) After kids were all fueled up and slowly getting ready for bed we gathered at the campfire for a little meeting. We mainly talked about tactics for wind and holding on to peoples wheel on the open and exposed sections of the trail were wind could have been a problem. We also discussed potential areas to pass that were safe and cactus free, which were very limited. I was very strict on telling the kids to get to the starting line asap after warming up in order to get a good position at the line. Having a good position coming into the impassible singletrack would make or break the race. After our little meeting I resumed wrenching on bikes that were supposedly “dialed” and race ready. To my surprise they were in need of much TLC. So my night continued on to about 11pm, while the racers where well on their way to counting sheep. Several brake alignments, bolt tightening, and tire swaps later I found myself tucked in my cocoon of a sleeping bag counting sheep.
The mourning started off cold, as it supposedly dipped down to the 30s during the night. Good thing no one had an early race that day. The Girls Varsity started going off at 10am, and were spaced out with 5 minute intervals after that. Our girls were lead out by India, who looked solid all three laps of the race. India’s competition looked strong…very strong, but India was able to pull out with an amazing 3rd place finish. Five minutes after India’s start time was Robin, who despite her early arrival at the starting line somehow got pushed back to near last at the start line. With crowds of girls lined up in front of her she had her work cut out for her. Amazingly Robin was able to give’r heck and shredded past the competition for a SOLID 2nd place. I was so amazed by how well she did because Robin was literally the last girl at the start line. Oh man was I one upset coach, wanting answers from the start line officials as to why she was put so far back. But in the end it all worked out and Robin said she had one of the best races ever. Last in the freshman category was the illusive butterfly, Sierra. I had no doubt in my mind that Sierra was going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee out there. Her smile and grace just carried her over everything, and she never looks like she is hurting on the bike…its amazing. Sierra finished in 3rd place on the dry and dusty 2 lap race, resulting in 3 solid finishes for the girls.
First off for the guys were DCT’s Sophomore racers Conner and Henry. After hours of fixing their bikes the night before(and giving Conner a tire with traction) they seemed amped and ready to shred. Conner had a 3rd tier start, but Henry got pushed back towards the back…making it a difficult race for him. Both looked strong going threw the feed zone, but both had trouble trying to pass slower riders in the singletrack. After the racing was said and done they did great! Conner placed 5th after we had to negotiate some number discrepancies(they put him in the D1 category, but he still raced in the D2 category. Making his time 5 minutes slower)and he got to podium! Henry placed a very respectable 7th place, especially after all that hard work he had to put in passing that huge crowed of racers. Last but not least was the Boys Varsity with Steven leading DCT in what looked like a pro race. This field had some fast riders, and what looked to be some kids sponsored by Focus bikes. I don’t know what it was but everyone of these kids were FAST! Kids were battling out for position during the neutral start, and once that flag was waved for them to start it was “GAME ON”! Steven literally ran into some trouble on one of the uphill section, having a slight collision with a kid who dismounted his bike. After lap one it was a hard battle to catch up to the leaders, and lap 2 turned into a battle for 5th place. Steven told me that the last hill before the flat rode section is where he got out gunned, and he had to settle for 6th.
Overall the kids did great and all placed in top ten…what team or coach could ask for more. I know I was stoked, and everyone came out clean and crash free. The Team Points are still being tallied up; as they have to count for nearly 300 kids, but I’m confident we did well. Could not have asked for a better race to start of the season! YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The All girls’ and Co-ed advanced Wednesday rides have been canceled today. Make up will be on Wednesday Nov 2nd at the location that we miss (Sale Barn for co-ed Adv and College for all girls). We will probably meet at 3:30 that day due to time change!!Read More