Race #1 Col. High School League

DHS in 2nd (DIV II) and AHS in 5th (Div I)

Ellie cranking up the hill
Ellie cranking up the hill
Nano showing off his skillzzzzz
Nano showing off his skillzzzzz
Katja getting it done with a smile!
Katja getting it done with a smile!

High School Mountain Biking Meeting Thursday

6pm at Buckley Park. Come and talk with coaches about the 2013 Colorado HS league for both Animas Ospreys and Durango Demons. Looks like a friendly game of bocce ball will insure!DSC01005-475x315

Animas High and DHS defend their title this Fall!


Colorado High School League season is almost upon us! Below is some information those teams!

Yes, I know it is still summer, but it is that time of year that the coaches are beginning to plan for the Fall High School Season! Garrett, Brendan and Sarah went to a 3 day coaches/ training for the league and we are pumped to start the season. Below is some info for you guys to start planning your Fall!

Teams: stay the same/ Div II AHS and Div II Durango High(we need to have over 11 to go Div I)

Coaches: Practice coaches: Garrett and Brendan/ Race coaches: Garrett and Sarah

Practices will start Aug 26th and be every Monday and Wednesday until the the State Championships. We would like to still have these two teams practice together. But, if we get a lot more kids, we may separate them. I’m open to comments/ideas on this from the kids!

Jerseys: YES!!!! AHS has its own jersey and shorts and DHS has its own jersey. AHS jerseys are in and I’m still waiting on the DHS ones. But they promise to be here before the season starts. Unlike Devo, the whole team has to be in the same jersey when racing. Devo has scholarships available to help pay for those who need that little extra help.

Social pre-season gathering: Let’s do it!! This will be a recruitment/get together to start the season off with something fun. More info to follow, but we are thinking the first week of school.

Race Schedule:
Sept. 8th Snow Mountain Ranch/ Granby
Sept. 22 Cloud City Challenge/ Leadville
Oct 6th Peaceful Valley Invitational/ Elbert
Oct 20th Hay Meadow Challenge/ State Champs in Eagle

Lodging at Races: Most races the van will leave Saturday and return Sunday. All our drives are over 4 hours this year, so bring that homework, ipods, and a crossword puzzle. I’ve already booked a 5 bedroom cabin at Granby for Sept 7/8. This sleeps 12 peeps (but we can squeeze more on the floor!). This lodging will be racers and coaches only. There is lots of lodging available for parents a stones’ throw away. Leadville I was thinking of camping with everyone. Elbert camping with everyone and Eagle renting a team house/condo again.

Commonly asked questions:
1. Do I have to race to practice with the team? Nope.
2. Do I have to register with the league and Devo? Yes if you are a racer you will need to register with both. If you are not racing than just with Devo! League Reg dues= $50 / Devo HS Dues= $250 (includes coaching at pracs and races/ does not include gas, race fees, or lodging) Scholarships available
3. Parents at races? Of Course!! We NEED our parents to be there and volunteer out on the course, registration, etc. The Devo van will be traveling to EVERY race so as a parent you do not have to go, but are welcome! Some of the lodging will be team only and others will be group. I tried to stagger it as best I could based upon the venue, weather in that region, etc. Devo van priority will go to seniors first, juniors, soph and then fresh. We almost always have room for everyone!
4. Do I have to be in high school to practice and race? Yes. NICA has some strict rules we need to adhere to and the riders need to be IN high school. We can add homeschoolers no prob or even kids from Bayfield, Mancos, etc. but they need to be in high school.
5. Will there be a coach at all 4 races? Yes, we are committed to all four races this year. The races are fun and well…. both teams have a little bit of glory to protect 🙂

More info will follow this, but I just wanted to plant the bug. I was registering the teams this morning and got kinda excited!!!

NICA Annual Awards Announced

NICA is pleased to announce the 2012 NICA Annual Award winners!

The NICA Awards were established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and partners that have made outstanding contributions toward the development of high school cycling and the national high school mountain biking movement.

This year, NICA Awards will be given to 13 individuals in 10 different categories that were selected from a field of more than 222 nominees from NICA Leagues across the country.

Specialized Student-Athlete Leadership Award
The Student Athlete Leadership Award honors student-athletes who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, academic performance and volunteerism in their team, school and community. The recipients are:
* Josie Nordrum, Redwood High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
* Zachary Tucker, Lyons High School, Colorado High School Cycling League

Trek Student-Athlete All Star Award
The All-Star Student Athlete Award recognizes student-athletes for their outstanding competitive achievements and potential for future success in competitive cycling. The recipients are:
* Kate Courtney, Branson High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
* Lucas Newcomb, Sir Francis Drake High School, NorCal High School Cycling League

Jeep Extraordinary Courage Award
The Extraordinary Courage Award recognizes student-athletes who have persevered through challenging circumstances and overcome adversity to develop and excel as a model student athlete. The recipients are:
* DeShaun Smith, C.K. MCClatchy High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
* Mark Doty, Oakley High School, Utah High School Cycling League

SRAM Coach of The Year Award
The Coach of the Year Award acknowledges a head coach whose qualities as a leader and motivator embodies NICA’s mission to provide student-athletes with the coaching and camaraderie to help them achieve both competitive and non-competitive goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. The recipients are:
* Whitney Pogue, Summit Academy High School, Utah High School Cycling League
* Ken Mozek, San Ramon Valley High School, NorCal High School Cycling League

Clif Bar and Company Volunteer Service Award
The Volunteer Service Award honors an exceptional volunteer whose dedication of time, expertise and enthusiasm goes above and beyond to make a difference in the organization. The recipients is:
* Nick Gualtieri, St. Francis High School, SoCal High School Cycling League

Quality Bike Products Community Impact Award
The Community Impact Award honors an individual whose dedication to high school mountain biking has resulted in positive impacts on youth, the community and the organization. This individual is an outstanding representative of the organization internally and externally. The recipient is:
* Ed Fischer, Camas Composite, Washington High School Cycling League

Primal Wear Race Production Partner Award
The Race Production Partner Award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding partnership role in race productions is key to the success of a leagues race event production. The recipient is:
* Martha Flynn, Minnesota High School Cycling League

Easton Foundations League Founder Award
The League Founders Award recognizes an individual’s commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance, and outstanding contributions in establishing a NICA High School Cycling League. The recipient is:
* Lori Harward, Utah High School Cycling League

NICA Legacy Award
The NICA Legacy Award honors an individual for their tremendous philanthropic support of NICA and NICA Leagues. The recipient is:
* Mike Sinyard, Specialized Bicycles

Come support the winners at the NICA Awards Benefit Ride and Banquet! Both events will be on January 12th, 2013 with the ride at Ft. Ord and the banquet at the Specialized world headquarters in Morgan Hill, California. Register today for either the ride and/or the banquet here.

DHS wins the State Champ race and AHS wins the Colorado League!!!!

Stephan Davoust
Stephan Davoust
Jack Hewitt
Jack Hewitt
Nano Rodd
Nano Rodd
Eli rocks the descent
Eli rocks the descent
India contemplates running the fat tires!
India contemplates running the fat tires!
Loading the van
Loading the van
Sepp wins the Colorado league!
Sepp wins the Colorado league!
Kaylee is all smiles at the start
Kaylee is all smiles at the start
Night dirt jumping with the Moonlander
Night dirt jumping with the Moonlander
Oatmeal in the morning
Oatmeal in the morning
Garrett gets the bikes ready
Garrett gets the bikes ready

Podium with the team
Podium with the team

Levi and Stephan start strong
Levi and Stephan start strong
India as the gun goes off
India as the gun goes off
Our camp/city for the weekend
Our camp/city for the weekend

Fireside chat
Fireside chat

Robin battles it out
Robin battles it out
Ellen in her first race
Ellen in her first race


NorthFruita Desert Classic (race #4 in Co HS League)
Varsity Girls (mile course)
1st Kaylee Blevins (DHS) 1:04:39
3rd India Waller (AHS)
6th Robin Austin (AHS)

JV Girls (mile course)
8th Sierra Trout (DHS)

Freshmen Girls
2nd Ellen Campbell (DHS)

Varsity Boys (mile course)
1st Sepp Kuss (DHS) 1:19:53
5th Levi Kurlander (DHS)
13th Stephan Davoust (AHS)

JV Boys (mile course)
1st Christopher Blevins (DHS) 1:12:11 (8 mins faster than 2nd place)
6th Jack Hewitt (AHS)
19th Eli Kopp-Devol (AHS)
26th Nathanael Rodd (AHS)

Sophomore Boys (mile course)
17th Quinn Haughey (AHS) (moved up 10 spots from his first race)

Freshmen Boys (mile course)
2nd Charlie Greenberg (DHS)
3rd Byrce Gordon (DHS)

Team place for race #4/ Div II
1st DHS
2nd AHS

Overall Individual for the Colorado HS League (podium only)
1st place Sepp Kuss (varsity boys)
4th place Levi Kurlander (varsity boys)
1st place India Waller (varsity girls)
2nd place Kaylee Blevins (varsity girls)
1st place Charlie Greenberg (Freshmen Boys)

Overall Team results for Colorado HS League/ Div II
1st AHS
2nd DHS
3rd Green Valley Composite

My Story

The North Fruita Desert Classic/ race #4 as part of the Colorado High School League comprised of 37 high school teams and over 350 racers was won by Durango High School athletes with the league overall going to Animas High School. It was pure the perseverance, consistency and dedication to the team that led Animas High to its win. AHS consistently traveled with a full team and there were many on the team that rode not for the their own individual race, but for the team. “Robin Austin is a good example of a rider on the squad that never had aspirations of a podium finish, yet her solid racing is one of the reasons the team won the overall. Her top ten finish in all 4 racers helped keep AHS in the lead by providing over 2000 points for the team.” AHS beat DHS for the overall by a mere 17 points. That is the difference between one rider in one race finishing just one spot behind. DHS’s performance at the last race moved it quickly from 3rd to 2nd and they dominated the results for that race taking home 3 first place finishes and 6 podiums. While they finished 2nd overall in the league, they won the 4th race/ Colorado High State Championship at North Fruita Desert by a long shot.

The team’s drive over to the passes was interesting as we saw not only a moose, but two bighorn sheep! We arrived at camp around 2 pm and suited up for our pre-ride. Devo coach, Garrett Alexander, helped lead the pre-rides and worked on the bikes to get them race ready. He also wore his cow suit in the feed-zone which was hilarious! The next round of riders showed up around 4 pm as they had their psat that morning. Robin said that the test was not so bad, but that she was happy to be outside riding. The next round of pre-rides went off and we were seeing that the course was getting dustier and dustier. Back at camp, we loaded up and headed down into town for the league’s annual picnic and awards. It was fun to eat and hang out with all the other teams. But, it started to get cold so I said we should head back to camp. Bob Davoust, Stephan’s dad said, “Where are you going?” I told him everyone was tired and cold and that we should go back to camp. He said that the awards were about to start and that we should stay. Little did I know that he had nominated me for ‘Coach of the Year’ and the Colorado League’s committee had voted to award me the honor. “I am both honored and embarrassed to receive Coach of the Year as in my eyes, the success of the teams is due to not me, but their parents, all the Devo coaches, and the Durango community itself.” I would like to thank all the athletes and kids that I have ever coached as it is their energy and passion that keeps my energy and passion alive. I am the one that is lucky to work with such amazing kids.

The race day started with the varsity girls’ start at 10 am on a 16.4 mile course that wove around the foothills of the north Fruita desert. The conditions were dry and dusty. The course itself was fairly flat which meant that there was no where to rest. Pushing hard on the pedals for over an hour with no break is very difficult both mentally and physically. The girls start was fast and Kaylee quickly took the lead. “When she came through the feed zone on lap #1, I knew she was on fire and she was gunning for the finish.” She finished 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. India Waller had a solid race finishing 3rd. She knew from her dad’s math, that she needed to get top 3 to hold onto her league championship. She had a tough race and her engines stopped firing 1/2 through the first lap. But her determination led her to the finish, just 5 seconds in front of the 4th place finisher…yikes! That was close! Robin had a super race finishing 6th and battling it out with 2 girls from Salida, Vail and Grand Valley. Sierra Trout was also on course racing the JV girls on a 14 mile course. Last year, as a home-schooled 8th grader, she won the freshmen class so the committee loved her up to JV. She races JV as a freshmen and there are seniors in the JV class. I love that Sierra is always so calm, cool and collected at all her races and is always smiling. Ellen Campbell made her debut at the HS league by coming to her first race and finishing 2nd. I told Ellen to be prepared to be “pleasantly surprised” at her position should she find herself in the top 5 in the middle of the race. “I knew that a girl who had ridden with Annie Cheeney’s U14 girls all Spring and Summer would do well as her skills would be at a higher level than the other freshmen girls.”

Next off in the 2nd wave on the same course, was the Freshmen and Sophomore boys. Quinn Haughey rode in his 2nd race ever and finished 17th which was 6 spots higher than his last race. “I predict that we will see more of Quinn in the future.” Charlie Greenberg and Bryce Gordon also started in this wave of 150 racers. Charlie got a bout of the stomach flu mid race, but finished in 2nd holding onto his overall league win. Bryce rode well as always and finished 3rd with a big grin on his face. Bryce has all the ingredients to keep being a strong racer as he is always positive, always gives 100%, and does not falter when things don’t go his way.
The last wave to go off was the Varsity Boys and JV boys in a field of 135 racers. The course by 1 pm was getting very dusty and loose. The usual lines has been turned into 4 inches of moon dust from so many riders. The front line of the Varsity boys start was 3 out of 4 being from Durango: Sepp Kuss, Stephan Davoust, and Levi Kurlander. These guys are all seniors and were lining up for their last high school race (we will see them this summer on Devo and Sweet Elite). Sepp went off strong and stayed there finishing 3 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. He was fed in the feed-zone by his mom who was watching her son make Colorado League history by dominating the varsity boys field in the same style as names like Garrett Lumberg (the Fort Lewis rider who finished 3rd at Collegiate Nationals) and Skyler Trujillo (another Fort Rider who rocks the cross collegiate scene) had in 2010 and 2011. Levi was having the race of his life until he flatted, but he still finished strong and moved his overall up to 4th place. Stephan had a tough race like India and could not find his top end. But his finish was one of the factors in AHS winning the league. Had he dnf (did not finish) because his legs was telling him to quit, his team would not have won the overall. Mixed in with these riders was none other than Christopher Blevins who hopped onto the start line for his first ever HS race. He was flying on his bike so fast that the announcer missed his finished as he came in first 8 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. As with Sepp’s first race, the league officials were in awe and asked me, “Who is that?” Also on course were Jack Hewitt having the race of his life finishing in 6th, Nathaniel Rodd and Eli Kopp-Devil. Eli comes to us from baseball and I love his team spirit and willingness to give it his all! Nano had a tough race also with some type of stomach bug. I’m gonna say that within the next 2 weeks, we all may find ourselves singing to the porcelain Gods…
To round out the season, I make these stories a bit “result driven” so that the Herald will print a story for these two high schools. As everyone knows, I’m out there supporting each athlete and hoping that their result is the one they were wanting. I believe in each athlete and am there to support them, but honestly I don’t care what place they get so long as they are happy with their race. I am always impressed with each and everyone’e efforts, teamwork and positive attitude towards each other regardless of which team they are on. Both AHS and DHS practiced, traveled and camped together. No one ever talked about who was in what place and who had what points, etc. We kept it about riding, about racing, about being a team. For this I am very thankful. I am also deeply thankful that no one got hurt. At each race, when I saw the ambulance head out onto course, my heart would drop. My eyes would burn waiting for riders to come around the corner to the feed-zone praying that the ambulance was not sent out for one of our riders. I often would harass a marshall and ask them to turn up their radios so I could hear which team’s rider was down. Of course, I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but knowing that each and every AHS and DHS rider gave 100% without any big falls will make me sleep much better!
I think a good idea for our end of the season party could be root beer floats up at the cement pad in test tracks this Wednesday. What do you guys say? Not sure how I’ll keep the ice cream frozen, but it will be fun to try!


From Today’s Paper

DSC_Durango 0695 (Large)
Home Page »Sports »High School Sports »Local riders stay hot in the cold
Local riders stay hot in the cold
Waller, Blevins provide the ‘one-two punch’
Herald Staff Report Article Last Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:29pm

Sierra Trout of Durango High School took third in the girls junior varsity mountain bike field in Elbert over the weekend. It was 38 degrees when she finished Sunday, after frozen rain and sleet during Saturday’s preride. All in all, Animas High School and DHS both had strong performances in the Colorado Mountain Bike League race.
Local high school mountain bikers ran into frozen rain, sleet and below-freezing temperatures in Elbert over the weekend.

But no winter-like weather could cool down Durango’s red-hot riders.

India Waller ignored the frigid air to take first place in Race 3 and the overall leader’s jersey in the girls varsity field for Animas High School, which held onto first place in Division II in the Colorado High School League.

“After bundling in down jackets, jeans and gloves, the riders rode the course and finished with a layer of ice on the front of their jackets and pants,” Waller said of Saturday’s preride in a news release to The Durango Herald.

“They had to pour warm water onto their bikes to get them working again,” AHS cycling coach Sarah Tescher said in the release.

For Sunday’s race, temperatures hovered around 25 degrees, Waller said.

But in a “one-two punch” – as Waller put it – Kaylee Blevins finished second and helped Durango High School move up to third in the 37-school league.

Robin Austin of AHS finished ninth for the varsity girls.

The weather, however, did take its toll on some of the boys.

Durango’s Sepp Kuss, who came into the race with the leader’s jersey, had some mechanical problems with his brakes badly rubbing midway through the 5.3-mile course. He had to get a tool from the feed/technical support area, which cost him a 5-minute penalty since the “league likes to grow independent athletes,” Tescher said.

“Once an athlete is on course, they are on their own,” she said.

Kuss finished 18th in the varsity field and dropped to fourth overall in the standings, but the league will drop one race in the case of illness or a mechanical problem, so a strong finish at the state championships Oct. 21 in Fruita would move him back into first place, Tescher said.

Stephan Davoust was the top local finisher, coming in fourth for AHS in the varsity boys field. He is second overall in the league.

Levi Kurlander of DHS was eighth for third place overall in the standings.

In the junior varsity field, Sierra Trout of DHS took third for the girls, and Eli Kopp-Devol took 15th in his first race in the boys field.

DHS freshman Charlie Greenberg, who wears the leader’s jersey in his division, finished first in the freshman field.


#1 Race for Col. HS League

Wow! What a weekend. I’m just so deeply proud of the high school team not only in their results this past weekend, but in their abilities to create an atmosphere of fun, teamwork and being ambassadors of Durango. We got to the venue around 2 pm after collecting our firewood on Wolf Creek Pass. The pre-ride was stellar and it was obvious that the Seniors on the team were ready to rally! After the pre-ride, the team helped set up the race course tape and the director of the race, Kate Rau, was very impressed with out team’s willingness to lend a helping hand. Back at camp, we were fed some yummy pasta by Sierra’s mom, Christine, which I believe was a key ingredient in our race successes!
img_1000Then, of course, the team started a game of bike polo amidst the sea of tents. The ball only went inside a few other team’s tents! But, the other high schoolers were intrigued and either came over to play or came up to me to ask about how to play. Dave Wiens, pro mountain bike stud, got a “how to build a ballot 101” from Nano and I the next day. Then a wicked game of cards that went a bit too late. The team was having so much fun, that Kate and the race director came down to see what all the laughing was about.

Race morning was a clear beautiful day. A huge thank you to all our parents who volunteered! It is so great to have parents out on the course marshaling and giving me splits/updates in the feed zone. India, Robin and I painted our big toes a sparkling purple while Levi and Stephen readied their bikes. We checked air pressure and the girls teams headed out for their warm up. Thank you to all the racers who warmed themselves up together as a team without me as I was in between feed zone and start/finish area. The varsity girls went off first at 10 am (Kaylee, India and Robin). This was Kaylee and Ronin’s first Varsity race (Robin was forced to move up from JV as she was just too fast for that group). Each had a stellar race finished 1,2 and 7th! Sierra’s wave was right behind and she also had such a great race finishing 4th in the JV class as a freshmen!

The freshmen boys were next with 2 laps of the shorter course (I think their times were sub 1 hour!). Charlie worked his way in first and stayed there! Bryce was having a solid race in the top 5 and then flatted. He is going to work on using his quick fill this week:) Levi, Stephen, Sepp, and Nano were the last racers to go off and it was crazy in the feed zone feeding them all when they were coming in so close to each other. Thank you to Robin and India for helping feed their team mates! India and I had a super duper quick, Levi/Stephen water feed! Sepp was fed by good ol mom who was loving the “Who is that?” comments in the feed zone from the other teams as Sepp crushed it! Sepp won, Levi 3rd and Stephen was 4th. Nano’s results got kinda messed up (not sure how you mess up chip results). But we are all thinking top 5….stay tuned!

The league is a great start for beginner racers. I loved that all our seasoned racers not only did well, but raced with style and good sportsmanship. The course marshals told me that they each said “thank you” to them. What a crew!

The next race is Sept 23rd in Granby.

High Five to Durango Composite and Their Second Place Finish at State!

Check out the race results here.

Photos by Rich Larson