This past weekend 18 Durango DEVO U19,14 athletes, 2 coaches and 25 parents and siblings took to the Rabbit Valley Rally mountain bike race in Fruita Colorado. Camping in a soccer field sized gravel parking lot in Rabbit Valley rec area, the team pre rode the time trial course on friday, raced the time trial saturday morning, prerode the cross country course on saturday afternoon, had a team dinner at The Hot Tomato later that night, and raced the cross country early the following morning.
Highlights from the weekend
*In saturday mornings time trial, the Devo team won five of the six junior categories, with Chris Blevins, Haakon Sigerslid, Alicia Rose Pastore, Kaylee Blevins and Avra Saslow. The course started with a gradual rolling climb, that lead to a rutted motorcycle trail traversing the Rabbit Valley cliff line. At its peak, the track falls downhill, fast and rocky with 3 technical sections. It ends with rolling motorcycle whoops.
*The Devo cross country course preride later that afternoon was HOT. A group or 13 DEVO U14 and 19ers took off to ride the Junior Under 14 course as the longer courses would have left the team pummeled for tomorrows competition. The team bypassed the turnoff for the Junior course and took a even shorter turnoff. On the way back, all 13 DEVO riders and coaches managed to not pinch flat on the notorious killer cattle guard, a first for a Devo group in the 3 years competing there. In the end, the athletes “kind-of” knew the course.
*Later that evening, the squad carpooled into Fruita and headed to former Durango resident and pro cyclist owned restaurant, the Hot Tomato. The 25 parents and riders and kids ate, 7 huge pizzas, and numerous salads. U14 rider Chase Seivert brought along his unicycle and did his best tricks on a post dinner town walk, that led to some serious freestyle walking, and the team headed back to their campsite for a team meeting and schwag-fest. It was advised to drink plenty of water and get some rest.
*Cross Country sunday morning at Devo camp saw the team prepare oatmeal, pasta, and granola, parents and coaches helping at as they get organized and head down the gravel road, 1 long mile to the cross country start, where coaches Chad Cheeney and Sarah Tescher were their to get the athletes warmed up and prepared for the sufferfest ahead. There is a large mud puddle 100m into the dirt road start, hidden around a corner and it was advise to line up right on the start line to avoid the dodgy chaos.
*The Junior Under 14’s and the Category 3 racers started at 8am. Chris Blevins was the first one in and took first place with teammate Charlie Greenberg finishing behind him in 3rd only 2 minutes behind. Keenan Desplanques was 8th, Derek Pansze, the week of getting hit by a car was 12th, 13th was Chase Seivert from Bayfield in his first race with DEVO. George McQunn took 15th on his new bike from Secon Avenue Sports, the U14,19 teams local shop sponsor, and Dylan Williamson, a Junior Devo rider place 16th of 19 racers on his singlespeed. Avra Saslow won for the girls under 14 with teammate Martina Pansze coming in 6th. Cat 3 racer Henry Larson in his first Devo race placed 8th after the lead motorcycle took the leaders on a longer than planned loop that had the racers looking at twice the course distance.
The Cat 2 races see some drama as Haakon Sigerslid flats his front tire while in 2nd place, under a minute behind the leader, teammate Stephan Davoust passed him moments later and could only ride on by as there is nothing he could do. Stephan rode on to 4th place and Haakon stayed focus and rode in to 8th place. James Shahan rode in to 12th place. And again it was kaylee Blevins winning the race with teammate Emily Schaldach taking 2nd. Kaylee’s time on the course would have put her in 3rd in the Cat 1 girls race.
In the Cat 1 girls race, Alicia Rose Pastore took the win on her new bike from Specialized and her new team, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. She finished the race almost in tears from the pain from the day earliers’ crash in the time trial, that sent her over the bars into to the ground, and then followed it up with a bike to the back of the body and head. In the Cat 1 boys race, Gino Pastore, Sepp Kuss ad Elliott Saslow 2,3, and 6th, worked hard on the road section off the start line together, riding together in front until the first major climb. That is where the 2 “Utah boys” took off and split the group. Gino bounced in and out of 2nd place several times, once when the Utah junior took a wide corner and crashed hard and the other when a wrong turn derailed him for 5 minutes. Sepp Kuss had his best finish in the fast Cat 1 field and Elliott was 2 miles from home when he flatted, forcing him to crash hard in mid downhill corner. He then ran in the last mile, loosing a spot on the result sheet and finishing in 6th.