Valmont Bike Park

Collegiate Cyclist Sweeps Season

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Lees Mcrae College student athlete, Carla Swart recently became the first collegiate cyclist to win all 4 championship disciplines  in one season. She began the winning streak this spring with a win on the road in Fort Collins, then winning the omnium as well as the sprint during late summer on the track in Colorado Springs, then her home turf in North Carolina on the mountain bike, winning the cross country and short track,  and then this past weekend in Kansas City on the cross bike. Thats a dominant division 1 season.

Carla Swart has tons of those jerseys

Carla Swart has tons of those jerseys

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Mountain Goat

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 “This is a project I finished last summer.  1992 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown FS.  The design was a college senior thesis from a Mountain Goat employee, which got horrible reviews.  High pivot placement induced tons of pedal bob in the rear end. I took it for a spin and it was indeed like riding on one of those coin-op pony rides you see outside Wal-Mart. But what’s not to love? This was a team bike from that year raced by local Durangoan Linda Meyers.  XTR M900, Nuke Proof, Grafton, and Rock Shox Mag 20 with matching team paint.  There are likely less than 50 of these bikes in the world… I know of two: This one, and the one in the First Flight Bikes Museum. Very rare, and very cool.” 

Local Bike restorerer Mike Wilk

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Summer Dreams

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U-14er Sepp Kuss turning on dirt behind the Durango Sports Club earlier this summer during the DEVO Short Track Series

U-14er Sepp Kuss turning on dirt behind the Durango Sports Club earlier this summer during the DEVO Short Track Series

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Durango Crowns Three in KC

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Durango Wheel Club members Walt Axthelm and Martha Iverson, and Specialized  legend Ned Overend all won their respective age group titles this past weekend in Kansas City during the US National Championships. Earning the stars and bars, Martha won her group by eight minutes, Walt by two and Ned by thirty seconds. DEVO friend Robin Guillaume also placed on the podium, 3rd in the U-29 B men. With a mid week snow storm, followed by warm weather, the course changed drastically from day to day. _g5y42902

The FLC women’s team took to the warm air early saturday morning to compete for the Collegiate Title. Moments before their start, an amazing cold-air wind blast dropped the temperature by 25 degrees in a matter of seconds. Lees McRae took the top spot for the women with Teal Stetson-Lee in 4th, Sarah Sturm in 8th, and Sabina Krashaaur in 13th. The mens race followed  with Ben Sontag in 2nd after a sweet almost ending. Greg Carpenter followed in 8th and Jessee Dekrey in 13th. The FLC men won their collegiate race, but for the 3rd year in a row, the overall omnium points ended in a tie, with the tie-breaker going to Lees McRae, 2nd place again!

Other results; Robin Guillaume 9th in singlespeed, Richard Bagienski 14th in master men, Joe Burtoni 43rd in 35-39 master, Jon McManus 65th in 35-39,  Tino Sanora 47th in 40-44, Dave Hagen 60th in 40-44, Travis Oliger in 75th in 40-44,  Terrina Tofoya 20th in B women, Grant Berry 10th in 30-34 men, Ryan Bartel 12th in 30-34 men, Will Curry 43rd in U-23 men,  and Steve Lamont 37th in 45-49.

In the elite mens race, Todd Wells finished off the podium for the first time at a US Chapionships race and placed 6th followed by former Durangoan, Matt Shriver in 7th. Ryan Trebone rode away from the field to take the title, it was his second after being crashed out of last years race. Other Durango fellas in the race were Troy Wells 12th, Brandan Shafer in 60th and DEVO Coach Chad Cheeney in 70th. The elite women’s race went off without a local lady at the start. Katie Compton took a dominant win with Fort Collins superstar Georgia Gould in second. Cyclocross Nationals continues the tradition next year with heavy rumors of the venue being in Bend, Oregon. We’ll see.

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Kansas City Cross Photos

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All these are by Chad Cheeney

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Jeff Norman Benefit

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Local mountain bike legend, Jeff Norman will be at the Smuggier Brewpub on Thursday the 11th, 5pm. The goal of the evening is to raise money to help with Jeff’s medical bills. Contact info: michellemontague@hotmail.com. Jeff was a fast racer in the 80’s and was the owner of Durango’s Stonehouse Bakery, which was a popular atb hangout during the time.

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Durango Sends Crossers to Nationals in KC

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USA Cycling’s Cyclocross National Championships are taking place this weekend in Kansas City, MO, and Durango will be well represented at the sweet event. The FLC Cycling Team will be sending its squad to take part in the Collegiate Championships on sunday morning. The team placed second last year to rival Lees McRae of North Carolina. This years squad; Ben Sontaag, Rotem Ishay, Dustin Wanstrath, Jesse Dekray, Cody Wilderman, Greg Carpeter, Chad Wells, and Mike Stevens for the men and Stephanie Swan, Teal Stetson-Lee, Sabina Kraashur(DEVO Coach,) Sarah Strum and Tina Dominic for the ladies. The team will be supported by Coaches Dave Hagen, Ruthie Matthes, Rick Crawford and Mike Engelman, and mechanics, Jon Bailey, Chad Cheeney, Whitney Jones and Will Curry. Dang, thats a serious crew.

Competing in the Elite race on sunday will be; Todd Wells, Troy Wells, Matt Shriver, Brendan Shafer, Grant Berry, Joey Thompson, Ryan Bartel and Chad Cheeney for the men and Shannon Gibson will be representing Durango for the women. Robin Guillaume will be racing the B category on Thursday morning. Robin has a good shot at taking the title after placing 4th in last years race. Walt Axthlem has a good shot at the title as well in the 60+ category along with Martha Iverson, who is a former age group world champion on the road. Other Durango crossers making the trip are; Jack McManus, Richard Baginski, Joe Burtoni, Terrina Tofoya and Steve Lamont. Good Luck to all.

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2009 MSC Schedule is Out

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A trend has been developing in the race to schedule cycling events, and that can only mean good things for us cyclists. So many goodies to choose from. So here is the 2009 Mountain States Cup season schedule, which is the main squeeze of the DEVO contingent. Only scheduling conflict so far is the late date switch by Snowmass, on the same weekend as Durango’s host action for Singlespeed World Championships, August 6-9th. Darnit.

US Cup

2009 USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour (ProXCT)
March 29: U.S. Cup – Fontana, California
April 19: Sea Otter Classic – Monterey, California
May 31: Bump N’Grind – Birmingham, Alabama
June 13: Carmichael Training Systems Sand Creek International Classic – Colorado Springs, Colorado
August 8: U.S. Cup – Mount Snow, West Dover, Vermont
August 15: Yankee Clipper at Windham Mountain, Windham, New York
September 26: USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour Finals, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Travis Brown Interview

  |   Superstar Interviews

Local mountain bike Hall of Famer, and DEVO friend Travis Brown is in the house, your house, on your computer screen. Travis is a former mtb Olympian and has been moonlighting on the cross scene ever since it became a scene. Today he wrapped up his season as the series champion for the local Squawker Cup. Its always interesting to here how our heros evolve within their sport, so read on and then go ride. 

Q: What year, and how did you first get involved with the sport of mountain biking?

A:  I messed around with mountain bikes a little bit in high school but I was more into cross country running and skiing then.  I remember watching the Iron Horse MTB race in the mid ’80s but It didn’t get me to try racing then.  While skiing in college I had a coach that had us do a lot of mountain biking for summer training.  Around that time I started riding more with friends in Durango who were into racing.  That was around 1988.  I did my first race in ’89 that was a Sport category race at the Iron Horse Classic.  I raced a few more races as a Sport in the summer of ’89, like Crested Butte FTBW and a couple of other races that were part of the CORPS series (Colorado Off Road Point Series, which has now evolved into the MSC series). I upgraded to Expert (this was pre Semi Pro) that summer at the Colorado State Championships which was the Hermosa Creek trail from the south end to Purg.  I raced for the rest of ’89, ’90  as an expert, riding for the Durango Wheel Club.  At the end of the ’90 season I upgraded to pro and did the qualifying race to get into the first official World Championships which was held here in Durango.  I made the cut in the qualifying race and have been racing as a pro since then.  ’91 and ’92 I raced for Answer Manitou and in ’93 I signed on with Trek and have been with them since.

Q: How about Cyclocross? What was your first cross bike setup?

A:My fist cross bike setup was a mountain bike like a lot of people.  I raced my first cross race in 1990.  I think I went to my first cross Nationals in ’91 or ’92 but I think It was more like ’95 before I had a true cross bike.  That was before Trek was making cross bikes so I had Chris Hurting at 3D build my cross bikes.

Q: What are your 3 bestest cross race results?

A: I was third at the Cross Nationals in Domain Chandon/Napa, CA.  I think that was in 2002. I guess it was second, My best Super Cup (which is now the GP/cross national series) was in Boulder where  I was second (on my single speed).  This was Mark Gullicksons first Super Cup win, I think It was in ’99.  I won one cross race in a sprint with Todd Wells and I think that was in 2003. 

Q: You’ve been dominating the local scene on your singlespeed Trek cross rig, its been several months now, what are the advantages to your set-up.

A: It is a lot easier to clean after the race!  If it is muddy your chain never pops around.  I am never in way to big of a gear after a dismount because I didn’t shift down properly going into the barrier. I end up racing more aggressively on my single because there are only a few places on the course that you can really put the pressure on the other racers so you are more motivated to throw down on those sections. The chain never bounces off. 

compared to a geared ride?

A: Some courses are a bigger disadvantage on the single than others. If the range of speed is very broad that is tough on a single but overall I think that racing a single is a really good idea for cyclocross.

Q: If you were going to design the perfect cross course for you to win, throwing out all rules and regulations, what key features would you include?

A: I like lots of medium speed corners with grass straights after them. Bike set up has a lot to do with different courses.  If things get really muddy and the people on geared bikes aren’t having a pit clean there bike the single is a big advantage.  I like high speed barriers too. Slow uphill corners are really tough on the single.  There were a lot of those in Boulder Cup.

Q: We have the amazing Wells, Trebon, TimJ and Powers on top of the US cross scene at the moment, what was it like when you were in the mix, as compared to now?

A: I raced with all of those guys when I was traveling to a  lot of races, that was only four or five years ago.  The scene has clearly blown up a lot but it is still most of the same guys at the front.The number of quality events and the continued growth is fantastic.  I think If I were in the middle of my racing career now I could justify dedicating a lot more time to cyclocross than I used to.  It was always mostly an off season training and I never really fully committed to cross racing because the upcoming mountain bike season was always more important for me.  That is unfortunate looking back on it because I had at least as much fun racing cross as XC.

Q: What do the race organizers across the US do to please the parks and private owners who lend their turf for cross destruction? On the Durango front, killing the grass seems to be an issue. Is there a realistic future for this sport on America’s lawns?

A: We plant grass to play on!  It gets damaged and then it grows back, it is the reason that it is there. It is totally unnatural.  There is a disconnect between justifying using grass for  football, soccer, baseball ultimate etc and using it for cycling.  I think that will change.  As users we need to be committed to rehab when there is the rare damage that doesn’t repair itself but the paradigm that bikes don’t belong on grass is not defendable with a rational argument.

Q: Who is your favorite cyclocrosser of all-time?

A:  Vintage favorite is Mark Howe, he rocked the boat by making bunny hopping a tactic and won the Nationals in ’92 because of it.  Plus he did it on a mountain bike.  Contemporary favorite would be Tim Johnson.  He has been around focusing on cross for a long time.  He has a broad skills bag, he is a humble champion and someone who is really easy to be happy for when he wins. Really, almost everybody in the cross scene is great.  They are fun people to hang out with.

Travis likes the beach, photo by Rob Odea

Travis likes the beach, photo by Rob Odea

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Squawker Cup Finishes With Sunny Skies

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All photos by Chad Cheeney

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