Outside of Granby, Snow Mountain Ranch sits in the Fraser River Valley with Devils Thumb Ranch perched to the east. It's a peaceful setting on any normal day, but on Sept. 23, high school mountain bikers took to the 5.2-mile course that runs through groves of aspen, grassy meadows, over wooden bridges and through a creek.
Summit High School's Division One team (12 riders) made a solid Week 2 showing, with strong results across four categories.
Sophomore girls Taeler McCrerey and Claire Vandeyacht finished first and second, with McCrerey taking the win and the leader's jersey for the second week in a row in her age class. Vandeyacht led through much of the race, but had to settle for runner-up after her foot came out of her shoe during the race. Summit's Christa Gutzel finished sixth in the field of 15.
Henry Trowbridge plowed ahead of the 48-member sophomore boys' division for his second win in a row to also defend his leader's jersey. Derek Hill finished in the middle of the field in 23rd place.
The freshmen boys raced as a tight-knit team within shouting distance of each other. Logan Ramsay finished 17th, Connor Hintgen finished 20th and Wyatt LaFrankie placed 22nd out of 44 racers.
In the competitive junior varsity race of 71 riders, Liam McDonnell was seeded ninth after his performance in Week 1 at Nathrop, giving him an advantageous starting position. He missed the podium by seconds with a sixth-place finish. Cameron Bobb and Wade Rosko started in the same field, racing strong until their mishaps. Bobb battled through to the finish while a punctured sidewall forced Rosko to abandon the race.
"The team is improving its skills each week at practice under the tutelage of the experienced coaches who generously give their time to support us, most notably Fred Newcomer and Kyle Stamp from Summit Velo," assistant coach Marla Dyer-Biggin stated in an email. "In addition to the regular cross-country training occurring on the Frisco peninsula trails, the team has also been quickly absorbing particular downhill skills as well."
The riders (recently) worked with Rob Garcia developing techniques on Keystone Mountain, Dyer-Biggin said, adding that, on Monday following Sunday's race, the team rode the stepped terrain on the Peaks Trail. Professional rider Nick Truitt coached them on how to pick a line, un-weight the front tire and vary one's position on the bike.
The team's next race is the Peaceful Valley Invitational at the Boy Scout ranch in Elbert on Oct. 7.