Juniors finish out mountain bike season at Weds. race | SummitDaily.com
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Juniors finish out mountain bike season at Weds. race

Janice Kurbjunsummit daily news
Summit Daily News/Janice KurbjunChrista Gutzel, racing in the junior girls 13-15 category, cruised around the last curve of the Keystone River Run Rally course on Wednesday evening, finishing out her junior mountain biking league season with first place overall, with 480 points - a nearly perfect score.
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The Keystone River Run Rally marked the end of the regular Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike series, but it’s not the end of mountain biking for the season. As summer heads into fall, the start of school also marks the start of fall sports. Acknowledging that, race owner Jeff Westcott recognized top finishers in both the season-end race as well as riders finishing top overall in points for the summer season. “It’s back to school and on the podium, all in a couple of days,” Westcott said over the PA system. It was eerily quiet at the base of Keystone Resort Wednesday night, though the tents and timing trailer marked the race headquarters. The crisp evening welcomed just a handful of fans, listening to the tunes as they awaited riders’ arrival. Soon, though, riders began cruising down River Run, across the bridge into River Run Village and around to the finish line at the Hunki Dori parking lot. There wasn’t enough rain before the race to create puddles large enough to cover riders, but was enough to make the course sticky. It was fun, but “brutal,” said Rex Wehrman of the course, which included some tough uphill sections. “It was technical in some parts.” Wehrman was up against Michael Angel in the Clydesdale category, which encompasses men over 200 pounds. The two battled for the lead, with Angel overtaking Wehrman on the climbs and Wehrman pedaling past Angel on the descents. Wehrman admitted he’d likely have lost the fight if Angel hadn’t crashed as he reached for a tool to tighten his handlebars. In the singlespeed category, Brad Grohusky again took the lead at the finish, feeling confident with Kristofer Carlsted out with a busted shoulder and another fellow rider out with a broken bike. On the flip side, Bernie Romero pushed Grohusky on Wednesday “into going harder than I wanted to,” he said. Why ride singlespeed? “I’m old and I’m stubborn,” the category leader said. But it’s also because the entire family has started mountain biking, and Grohusky is the mechanic. In general, a singlespeed rig doesn’t need the same care the rest of the family’s bikes do. The rain made the course tacky, which Wehrman said is ideal. The Faction skis representative didn’t plan to race this season, but the pieces fell into place early on, after his daughter Aislinn Wehrman had been racing a few weeks. “I was psyched driving over here,” he said. “You could tell it was a rain that would clear up.” And it did. The skies remained cloudy and the air stayed cool as the sun dipped behind low-hanging wisps tucked away in the mountains, but the riders finished the race without much precipitation and the juniors could enjoy standing on the podium and posing for season-end photos without donning rain jackets. Though the youth summer season has ended, it’s not too late for high school-age juniors to join the fall mountain bike league, which meets at 3 p.m. Monday for practice at the Frisco peninsula’s ballfields. Thane Wright is available at thane@rockymountain endurance.com to answer any questions. Youth can also ride in the Fall Classic’s youth course, which Westcott said it’s “very challenging.” Junior mountain bikers will also reconvene for a group ride in Moab at Gemini Bridges Trail on Oct. 22, where they’ll don their jerseys together for a reunion ride. Look for race results in Friday’s Summit Daily News.


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