High school mountain biking takes center stage in Eagle | SummitDaily.com

High school mountain biking takes center stage in Eagle

John LaConte
jlaconte@vaildaily.com

EAGLE — Like the riders on the trail, participation in the Colorado High School Cycling League continued its climb this year.

The season culminated Sunday when 613 high school students took on the town of Eagle's Haymaker trail for the Haymaker Classic State Championships. Five years ago, when the cycling league hosted its first state championships, 125 riders participated.

"It went off perfectly," chief course marshal Brad Young said after Sunday's race. "No issues whatsoever."

Fifty-four teams from Durango to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and everywhere in between brought with them an entourage of riders, coaches, siblings, parents and grandparents, transforming Eagle into a Mecca of bikes and riders. Hundreds of cars surrounded the Haymaker trail's start and finish area, nearly all of them sporting bike racks.

Sierra Levene and her brother Ryan came in from Laramie, Wyoming, to compete in the event. Sierra, a senior at Laramie High School, took third in the junior varsity race.

"We had 20 to 25 people from Laramie here," she said.

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Julie Carisch came in from Bozeman, Montana, to watch her grandson, 17-year-old Patrick Curvin, of Crested Butte.

"I look forward to it every year," she said.

Curvin had three generations of fans cheering him on, with his father, Pete Curvin, and friends Jack Spahn, 12, and his sister, Jamey Spahn, 17, also of Crested Butte.

Jamey also competed and was holding a large "Go Crested Butte" posterboard in the finish corral, which was lined with hundreds of spectators.

"We also had 12 'Swervin' Curvin shirts made," she said.

BMX IN FOREGROUND, BACKGROUND

At the base of the finish arena, the town's BMX track provided the entertainment.

"That's your babysitter right there," said local coach Jay Henry, with a gesture toward the track's rolling features and banked turns. "It's a perfect venue."

The top finisher of the day, Christopher Blevins, of Durango, is also a nationally ranked BMX rider. He said his background in that sport helped push him to the win on Sunday.

"For kids looking to get into mountain biking, I'd definitely recommend starting with BMX," Blevins said. "It's helped me so much."

The BMX track's owner and operator, Eagle resident Jay Lucas, said he had never seen the kind of riding on Haymaker that Blevins demonstrated on Sunday.

"He was passing people around the banked turns on the final descent," Lucas said. "I've never seen that done before."

VSSA 2ND OVERALL

Lucas' son Halsey rode for the local Eagle County team, which won the event last year. That team has now grown to 34 kids, and as a result of its size the team was forced to break into two teams. The Battle Mountain, Vail Christian and Eagle Valley team finished fifth in the Division 1 championship race, while the Division 2 Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and Vail Mountain School team took fourth. However, in the overall standings, which were also determined Sunday, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy rode away with second place.

"Even though we're technically two teams, we train and do everything as one team," said coach Dan Weiland. "We have Nordic skiers, Alpine skiers, snowboarders, freeskiers, Cycle Effect athletes, all together here on their mountain bikes. It's one unit, working together."

Weiland said above all else, the point of having the team is to get kids out on the trail having fun. Like the season itself, the fun factor reached a peak this weekend, Weiland said.

"Friday was our most fun day of the year," Weiland said. "These kids have been training so hard since May 1."

Local standouts included Colby Lange, of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy team, who took first overall in the Division 2 sophomore series; Sam Brown, of the Eagle County team, who took first overall in the Division 1 freshman series; Christopher Seabury, of the Eagle County team, who took second in the Division 1 freshman championship race; and Nolan Herzog, of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy team, who took first overall in the Division 2 freshman series.

Team Results

Division 1

State Championships

1 Boulder High

2 Fairview High School

3 Salida High School

Overall season

1 Boulder High

2 Fairview High School

3 Salida High School

Division 2

State Championships

1 Durango High School

2 Summit High School

3 Leadville

Overall season

1 Durango High School

2 Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy

3 Leadville

Individual results

Boys Varsity

State Championships

1 Christopher Blevins

2 Christian Panozzo

3 Trevor von Boeck

Overall

1 Trevor von Boeck

2 Henry Chapman

3 Jack Tanner

Girls Varsity

State Championships

1 Katja Freeburn

2 Brenna Hattler

3 Kelsay Lundberg

Overall

1 Katja Freeburn

2 Kelsay Lundberg

3 Anna Martin