Over 500 Racers for Colorado High School Cycling League Series Opener in Granby
By Stephanie Leclerc
Contact: Kate Rau, firstname.lastname@example.org
Full Race Results
Granby, Colorado – The Colorado High School Cycling League four-race series began at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Sunday September 8th. Over 500 racers representing 40 teams from Colorado and Wyoming awoke to a morning mist that quickly lifted unveiling a sun drenched mountain valley. The 5.0-mile course with approximately 460 feet of climbing per lap is adjacent to a 2,800 acres conservation easement centered on the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic center.
The venue is a favorite of the Colorado League which continues to grow at a clipping pace of 40 percent per year since 2010. The welcoming atmosphere attracts veteran competitors as well as those new to the sport. When asked, “Why mountain bike racing?”, first time racer Audrey Randall of Fairview High School, responded with the common answer, “It’s a great community, very supportive and it doesn’t matter how you finish, they cheer for you at the finish line.”
The course was a mix of fast double track that parallels Pole Creek then climbed onto a twisty singletrack in an Aspen grove. Racers rode through a lodge pole pine forest, down a quick sweeping descent, over a challenging rock garden, and then up a sustained climb to Columbine Point. A meandering descent through Aspen allowed for some recovery before a refreshing stream crossing and a fast return to the finish.
A Saturday afternoon rainstorm created an extra challenge for the 100 girls who started off the racing on Sunday at 10:00 AM. They were forewarned about some muddy sections, slick roots, and slippery bridges. The temperature rose to a high of 80 degrees providing a slightly faster and drier course for the second wave of over 200 Freshman and Sophomore boys. A rolling thunderstorm quickly overtook the warm sunny afternoon at around 2:20 PM, an hour after the Varsity boys started. Race officials closed the course due to lightning, reducing the Varsity and JV boys race by one lap. Racers and course marshals returned to the venue as quickly as possible while vehicles drove along accessible sections to retrieve any stranded racers and bikes. Several wet, cold, and muddy racers and volunteers sought shelter at in the Nordic building, were greeted by a crackling fireplace and shared stories of their various adventures returning to the venue.
The race crew and staff cleared the course and reacted quickly, effectively and efficiently under the leadership Kate Rau, Colorado League Director. “At around 2:10 PM dark clouds moved in suddenly, the proximity and frequency of the lightning warranted a course closure at around 2:26 PM. The storm was fast, furious, and short-lived. We focused on clearing people from the course, getting them to shelter, and securing the venue area. Coaches, volunteers, and spectators all jumped into ensure racers and course marshals were safe and assisted with take down. Excellent team work!”
Day begins with Marta Morris, Grand Valley, Varsity, winner. Photo Leslie Farnsworth-Lee.
Marta Morris, 1st place, Varsity, Grand Valley, was all smiles and radiated confidence at the finish, “It was really fun, and I felt really good and really strong. I did feel scared because I felt hunted and knew I was in the lead and everyone was chasing me”. She may have been the hunted but her first place finish proves she was never caught in the crosshairs.
Erin Quinn, 2nd place, Varsity, Evergreen, could see Marta in the crosshairs and got really close to a passing, but dropped her chain. As this Xterra National Champ competitor continued to press on and focus she chanted her mantra, “You’ve been trying, you’ve earned it, you can do this, don’t quit”. It keeps her focused and keeps her calm and allowed her to really push harder than she thought she could the last mile, and bring home a 2nd place success.
The Varsity and JV boys were the third wave of riders and they experienced hot dry conditions for the first few laps and were caught up in an afternoon fast moving thunder storm - typical of late summer Colorado weather. Racers navigated the changing trail conditions, cooler temperatures, wind, and rain. The race ended early with safety being a top priority.
The Varsity boy field was stacked with veteran racers and familiar names. Boulder High teammates Michael Dessau and Grant Ellwood battled for first and second respectively with 11th grader Brannan Fix from Rocky Ridge earning 3rd.
Girls Varsity Division 1/2 - 3 laps
1. Marta Morris (14) Grand Valley 1:29:41.04
2. Erin Quinn (18) Evergreen 1:30:41.15
3. Claire Vandeyacht (5) Summit HS 1:31:32
4. McCauley Smith (8) Boulder HS 1:37:30
5. Sierra Trout (3) Durango 1:38:35
Boys Varsity Division 1/2 - 3 laps weather ended race early
1. Michael Dessau (48) Boulder 15 miles in 1:06:48
2. Grant Ellwood (49) Boulder 1:08:05
3. Brannan Fix (59) Rocky Ridge 1:08:42
4. Maxx Chance (37) Fairview 1:09:28
5. Ian Mcpherson (33) Fairview 1:10:10
Jack Tanner, Fairview (230) JV Division 1, off the start. Quintin Cook, Vail Valley (276) takes the win.Tanner places 2nd and Cooper Wiens (221) places 3rd. Photo Leslie Farnsworth-Lee.
The JV girls field included many experienced racers and those new to the Colorado League. Anna Martin from Vail Valley, took the lead early, while a cadre of 9th graders Camryn Sippy, Animas, Birgit Morris, Grand Valley, and Katja Freeburn, Durango followed.
The JV Division 1 boys gold was sealed by Quintin Cook, Vail Valley, the 2012 Freshmen State Champion. Jonah Howe, Grand Valley, won JV Division 2, by 16 seconds in front of Kai Sherman, Crested Butte.
Division 1/2 JV Girls - 2 laps
1. Anna Martin (113) Vail Valley Comp in 55:06:10
2. Camryn Sippy (119) Animas High 57:59:52
3. Birgit Morris (117) Grand Valley 59:00:66
4. Katja Freeburn (118) Durango 1:00:05
5. Lesley Myller (120) Steamboat Springs 1:00:37
Division 1 JV Boys - 2 laps
1. Quintin Cook (276) Vail Valley Comp 47:13.37
2. Jack Tanner (230) Fairview 48:02.91
3. Cooper Wiens (221) Gunnison 49:19.72
4. Keenan Desplanques (284) Animas 49:29.60
5. Dan Kates (237) Boulder 50:52.23
Division 2 JV Boys - 2 laps
1. Jonah Howe (314) Grand Valley 49:17.36
2. Kai Sherman (308) Crested Butte 49:33.96
3 Eric Pipkin (316) Grand Valley 50:18.15
4 Jack Ellmer (384) Fort Collins 50:32.36
5 Bryce Gordon (389) Durango 50:50.77
Savannah Roop (149) JV Douglas County navigates singletrack climb. Photo Todd Kercher.
Racers from Salida, Fort Collins, Boulder and Durango, all legacy teams since 2010, took the top spots for the Sophomore Girls. Luke Vickerman, Sophomore D1 from Vail Valley took the gold and Fairview teammates, Stuart McKnight and Ayden Chance, earned silver and bronze respectively. Grant McCormick, independent racer from Front Range Christian will wear a Leader jersey at the start line at Race #2 in Leadville for his win in Sophomore D2. Second place, Eric Conyers, CAMBYR, represented for Casper, WY
Sophomore Girls - 2 laps
1. Anna Schehrer (417) Salida 1:03:59
2. Sam Ruff (402) Fort Collins 1:06:22
3. Claire Carlin (405) Boulder 1:07:38
4. Ellen Campbell (415) Durango 1:07:41
5. Jessica Way (413) Green Mtn 1:07:41
Sophomore Division 1 Boys - 2 laps
1. Luke Vickerman (557) Vail Valley 50:01:86
2. Stuart Mcknight (505) Fairview 50:46:98
3. Ayden Chance (503) Fairview 51:59:16
4. Colbey Derwin (558) Vail Valley 52:35:46
5. Jesse Orris (560) Salida 52:58:88
Sophomore Division 1 Boys - 2 laps
1. Grant Mccormick (602) Independent in 50:45:58
2. Eric Conyers (619) CAMBYR Composite 53:17:93
3. Kevin Callahan (612) Aspen Valley Comp 53:45:57
4. Koby Vargas (609) Steam Boat Springs 53:53:69
5. Matthew Judson (639) Green Mt Comp 53:57:58
Jayden Simelda-Longe, Boulder HIgh Sophomore, enjoys the ride. Photo Paul Magnuson.
Many of the freshman racers are first time racers and new teammates. Nic Jenkins, 1st place, Division 2 Freshman Boys, Fountain Valley High School, arrived at new high school and joined their team, as an experienced mountain bike racer. NIc shared his strategy, ”I arrive to the line and try to clear my head. I just thought about the course and what I needed to do since I didn’t pre-ride. I also wanted to make sure after I had the lead not to ease off. This was a really fun experience and I really enjoy having my team part of my school. The biggest thing for me is not having to ride alone and having teammates my own age in my school. It’s a fun experience and there are so many divisions that it’s a sport where nobody gets cut and there is a spot for everyone.” Kaden Sites from Salida takes the lead for the D1 Freshman boys and is following his older sister Hannah who raced in the Colorado League.
Garrison Hayes, Boys D2 Freshman, Highlands Ranch Composite, is a huge motivator to the sport. As a young boy he lost his leg and has chosen to focus on goals, with the use of one leg and a prosthetic leg. “On Saturday I pre-rode the course and one lap was close to 2.5 hours to finish. I made a goal for me, for my win to be on Sunday, to finish one lap in 1.5 hours. I’ve done it! I accomplished it. It is about being confident and being familiar with the course and the changes in the weather”. Garrison completed his lap in an impressive 1:16.35.
Freshman Division 1/2 Girls - 2 laps
1. Sydney Sappenfield (723) Vail Valley Comp in 1:02:44
2. Molly Madden (711) Fairview HS 1:04:27
3. Haillie Whittington (471) Salida HS 1:07:02
4. Camryn Kercher (703) Highland Ranch Comp 1:08:28
5. Zoe Livran (717) Vail Valley Comp 1:11:20
Freshman Division 1 Boys - 2 laps
1. Kaden Sites (868) Salida HS in 49:50:86
2. Cassidy Dzekciorius-Bailey Boulder HS 49:51:99
3. Christian Wilson (864) Vail Valley Comp 51:56:57
4. Keiran Eagen (879) Animas High School 51:58:99
5. Ross Ellwood (813) Boulder HS 52:22:91
Freshman Division 2 Boys - 2 laps
1. Nic Jenkins (907) Fountain Valley HS in 50:49:58
2. Jett Seymour (906) Steamboat Springs 53:30:81
3. Josh Schroeder (939) Green Mt. Comp 55:43:42
4. Chase Wulfman (934) Grand Valley 56:00:00
5. Peter Whitesel (935) Green Mt. Comp 56:17:50
Teams and racing cannot happen without the time commitment and spirit of good coaching. Aspen Valley High school rolled into the opening race as a new team, and for most racers this was their very first race. Aimee Rocheleau-Ross was very excited for her new team of 12 racers. “We (Nat and Aimee Ross) are just really passionate about cycling and it is very important to us to have more youth in cycling and especially the girls. It’s a great sport and we both just felt we could make a difference and decided to form a team. It was something that we knew we could do and give back to our youth cycling community”.
Ty Carpenter, Aspen Valley Composite, is a novice racer and proudly races on his mom’s old bike. What he loves about the Colorado Leauge is, “It’s not about the expensive bikes, it’s about the team and the trail. Each singletrack is a story in itself that you learn by riding it, whether that’s on a borrowed bike or a nice new bike. Don’t over focus on equipment and on your fears. It’s really fun and it’s worth it”.
Team results after Race 1:
Division 1: 14 Teams
1. Boulder High 4019
2. Fairview High 3944
3. Vail Valley Comp 3940
4. Summit High 3681
5. Animas High 3614
Division 2: 25 Total Teams
1 Grand Valley Comp 2087
2 Durango High 1939
3 Steamboat Comp 1907
4 Fort Collins High 1856
5 Green Mtn Comp 1853
Jett Seymour (906) Steamboat, and Buena Vista rides Jesse Young (925) and Dillon Tanner (924) Freshman D2 racers off the start. Jett Seymour places 2nd behind Nic Jenkins of Fountain Valley. Photo Leslie Farnsworth-Lee.
The talk amongst the cyclist was about camaraderie, the spirit of goodwill and fellowship that exists between friends. The amount of fun they have racing and how much they love it were the overriding sentiments expressed by kids who had found a sport where they feel at home versus who will be on the podium. The Colorado League race series heads to Leadville for the Cloud City Challenge September 22nd on the trail system behind the Colorado Mountain College Timberline Campus.
The Colorado High School Cycling League founded in 2009, hosted the region's first interscholastic cross-country mountain bike race series in the fall of 2010. It was founded to promote personal development and teamwork through bicycle racing, and encourages the formation of teams at public and private high schools in Colorado and Wyoming. Regardless of ability level, the Colorado League is committed to providing a positive cycling experience for all its student-athletes. Each season includes a four-race series, a Coaches’ Summit, and a variety of day camps.
The League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and Colorado League sponsors including the founding national sponsor Specialized Bicycle Components; as well as establishing sponsors Easton Foundations, SRAM, and Trek Bicycles; major sponsors Primal Wear, Sho-Air, Clif Bar & Company, Quality Bicycle Products, Eagle Outside, Osprey Packs, OpticNerve, Wheat Ridge Cyclery, Wheels Manufacturing, Yeti Cycles, CamelBak, GU, Kinetic, Maxxis, Honey Stinger, St. Anthony’s Hospital, Feedback Sports, and Fort Lewis College; media partners Mountain Flyer, 303Cycling, Mountain Bike Action, Dirt Rag, and Cyclingnews. For more information on the League, visit or contact Kate Rau at email@example.com, Tel. (720) 272-9282.