Local junior racer enjoys record-breaking season | SummitDaily.com

Local junior racer enjoys record-breaking season

Special to the DailyJozy Gessner, 12, trains on the trails of Summit County in advance of the 24-Hours of Moab endurance race next weekend. Gessner won the 14-and-under age group in this year's Summit Mountain Challenge.

In October, Jozy Gessner will be trying something she’s never done before – the 24-Hours of Moab, a day-long mountain bike race.

Last spring, she did something else she’s never done before – the Arapahoe Basin Enduro, an endurance event held on the Pallavicini face.

But, to put both of these efforts into perspective, you need to take into consideration what she did last January.

That’s when she celebrated her 12th birthday.

When Gessner hits the sandy desert course in Moab on Oct. 18, she will set the record as the youngest girl to compete in the grueling bike race, a record she also holds for the Enduro.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Gessner said. “I’ve been skiing since I’ve been standing up. I started really mountain biking when I was probably 5.”

She began racing about four years ago with the Summit Mountain Challenge and, this year, she raced up in the 13-14-year-old age group and won the overall title.

She just got a new Gary Fisher Tassajara this year, and she said it has made a world of difference in her riding.

“It’s a lot better than my old one,” she said. “You go from a $50 bike to a $500 bike, it’s a big difference.”

Gessner will become the youngest girl on Team Barbie, which she joins to compete at Moab. This is nothing new for her teammates, Kate Chapman, Lea Taylor and Marie Oberritter. Two years ago, Taylor set the record for being the youngest on the team and last year, local junior Whitney Henceroth set a new record.

It’s just part of being Team Barbie, a junior women’s team founded by Chapman and Taylor.

Gessner lives in Summit Cove with her parents, Steve and Robin, and her 11-year-old brother J.J.

The Gessners own and operate the Swan Mountain Inn at Farmer’s Korner.

“I just support what she wants to do,” Robin said. Jozy’s mother admitted she was a little nervous about her daughter doing a night loop on the Moab course, but she plans to be there to cheer her on the whole time.

Jozy also relies on the emotional support of her good friends, Brandon and Morgan Major. Brandon was Gessner’s teammate for the Enduro.

She runs cross country and wrestles for Summit Middle School.

“She’s one of our top runners,” said her coach, Heidi Avery.

While the training and preparation for 24-Hours of Moab has translated into a fun summer of singletrack for Gessner, she said the hardest part has been finding sponsors. “So far we have Recycle Ski and Sport, Ti Amo’s, Backcountry Brewery and Vail Resorts, but we still need sponsors,” she said.

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at rchittick@summitdaily.com.

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