At 5am Saturday morning, the Mountain Bike Team left Western State Colorado University for a race in Grand Junction. The cross country athletes left a few hours before the downhill riders to arrive at the Lunch Loop trailhead for their start on time. The cross country course was a technical uphill and downhill on Tabegauche trail. Men’s A had five laps of the 4.3 mile course.
The gravity athletes arrived as the cross country riders were finishing up their race. They shuttled up to the top of Tabegauche Trail, where they hiked in a bit to get to the start of the downhill course. The top of Tabegauche consists of traverse down a steep hill, with loose rocks, a sharp drop on one side and a loose hillside with large boulders above. Hiking on anything but the trail was nearly impossible. This section was nicknamed Widowmaker Hill. Unlike the previous downhill races, this course had some sections of uphill and flats. It rode some of and finished on the cross country course. Daniel Frentzel did great this past weekend, taking home second place!
After the downhill race finished, the gravity riders drove back to Gunnison. Cross country stayed to race short track the following morning. But while the sun was still up, the XC athletes took a fun, scenic ride down the Ribbon trail. About an hour long downhill ride, with stunning panoramic views of the mesas and valleys around Grand Junction, the team was ecstatic to ride just for fun.
Sunday morning was short track. It was held on campus at Colorado Mesa University and was a change of pace from a typical short track race. The course went over stairs, through a beach volleyball court, around landscaping, and close to campus buildings. This urban short track was challenging because of its cycle cross nature, but contained no steep hills or technical descents. Short track was followed by a team relay, which was four laps around the short track course completed by four different team members. From Western, Ryan Trimble, Shelbie Ralston, Taylor Paulson, and Sean O’Donnell competed.
This coming Friday, Western’s Mountain Bike Team travels to Angel Fire, New Mexico for their Conference race. Nationals are quickly approaching! Keep checking for updates. –Carley Clegg