Shelden wins high school MTB state championship
BRECKENRIDGE – Taylor Shelden went into the 2004 Colorado State High School Mountain Bike Championship with only one thing in mind – winning. And that’s just what the Breckenridge 17-year-old and Vail Mountain School (VMS) senior did on Oct. 30 in Monument, leading the fifth annual event wire to wire.”It was very exciting,” said Stacy Shelden, Taylor’s mother. “He was feeling pretty strong and his goal was to win. Once he got out in front he stayed there, which was fun to watch.” After finishing fourth in the event last year, Shelden came into this year’s event determined to come out on top. Entering the race with a summer’s worth of expert class races in his legs, he jumped off the start line and never looked back.
“That was my plan from the beginning,” he said. “That’s what the winner did last year – he hammered for the first section and built enough of a lead to hold it for the whole race. So I decided to try it this year.”Shelden – racing for VMS – finished the race in 55:48:00, a minute ahead of runner-up Colin Cares of Fairview. The victory caps the most successful season of the young cyclist’s life. After signing on with the junior development program of the Century Tel/Vail Racing and Development cycling club, Shelden opened his season with a victory in the junior category of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic road race on May 29.
He then won the United States Cycling Federation Hillclimb State Championship in Beaver Creek Sept. 6. Just prior to the high school race, Shelden and three Century Tel teammates – Kevin Soller, Brad Bingham and Nick Certeza – won the junior division of the 10th annual 24 Hours of Moab on Oct. 16. Shelden also finished eighth in the junior expert division of the National Off Road Bicycling Association National Championships in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. on Sept. 24. He said he hopes to win the national title in the division next season. Shelden wasn’t alone in representing Summit County at the race.
Drew Roberts and Madelyn Sullivan – both VMS seniors – used the competition as an opportunity to try mountain bike racing for the first time. Roberts did not finish due to health reasons and Sullivan finished seventh in the girls race. VMS freshman Joely Denkinger, a veteran of the Maverick Sports Mountain Bike Little League, finished eighth behind Sullivan. Bingham, who lives in Eagle County, also raced and finished sixth in the boys competition. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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