Local junior mountain biker excels at state
BRECKENRIDGE – As the first real snowstorms of the season begin to coat the local ski resorts in powder, it’s getting downright hard to remember the mountain biking season.
That is, unless you’re local junior racer Taylor Shelden.
The 16-year-old Breckenridge resident placed fourth in the state high school mountain biking championships Saturday in Colorado Springs.
The race, held at Cheyenne Mountain High School, featured 50 of the fastest junior racers from across the state. Riders from as far away as Durango made the trip.
“I was 10th after the second lap.” Shelden said. “And then worked my up just picking people off.”
The race featured a criterium-style course, where riders raced for 50 minutes until a bell signaled racers to finish one more lap.
“My dad was there, so he was keeping me updated on each lap,” Shelden said.
His father, Kevin, added: “It was a pretty impressive field, so it was a pretty good race for him.”
Taylor, a junior at Vail Mountain School (VMS) in Vail, is an avid mountain biker and raced as a junior expert. He finished second in both the Summit Mountain Challenge and the Fall Classic stage race.
He also competed in the Beaver Creek Ultra 100 this summer, which turned out to be his favorite race of the season. He raced up a category in that race, finishing sixth in the men’s sport category.
And if that wasn’t enough fat tire racing, he and three friends from VMS finished fourth among junior boys at the Honda 24 Hours of Moab three weeks ago.
“On my last lap, I broke my chain twice,” Taylor said about his racing experience in the Utah desert. “Otherwise, we probably would have finished second or first.”
Shelden is also an avid Nordic skier and soccer player, and would like to continue racing mountain bikes in college, where he plans to study engineering.
Shelden’s finish at the state championship was the best out of a six-person team that consisted of four boys and two girls.
While Vail Mountain School does not have a formal mountain bike program, they did sponsor this one event, Shelden said.
The race is promoted by USA Cycling, the governing body of mountain bike racing in the United States. This is the third year that Colorado has held a state high school championship race.
The other five students from VMS that went to the race with Taylor are Brad Bingham, Duncan Robinson, Ray Bernardo, Courtney Robinson and Laura Littman.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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